Suffolk Walmart a top fundraiser

Published 9:43 pm Thursday, July 22, 2010

Walmart stores across the country finished a six-week fundraising race recently to benefit their favorite regional hospitals. Suffolk once again showed that while it might not be the best-known contestant, its heart for charity makes it a top competitor.

Twenty-one regional Walmart stores and four regional Sam’s Clubs raised more than $318,000 for Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters during a six-week fundraising campaign. Of that $318,000, the North Main Street Walmart in Suffolk alone raised $44,8310, making it sixth in the nation for its fundraising efforts.

“We are so grateful to be surrounded by such a supportive community,” CHKD development officer Ashley Dorey said. “This year’s contribution doubled from last year. To know that one of the stores was one of the top 10 in the country tells us just how much our community supports us. What they did is huge.”

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The six-week campaign consisted of cashiers asking customers for donations. Walmart stores across the nation — from Los Angeles to Chicago — participated in the fundraising effort for their own regional hospitals.

“There’s a lot of excitement that pushes into this,” Walmart customer service manager Kathryn Howard said. “So many of our employees have been affected by CHKD, and it touches home. We’ve also had very generous customers in our stores.”

The campaign is the only time during the year that Walmart employees are allowed to ask customers for donations to support a cause, but local Walmart stores hold additional fundraising efforts, as well.

Earlier this year, 35 local stores participated in the CHKD Mini Grand Prix, for which the Suffolk Walmart raised $3,500.

Combined with the $45,000 raised during the campaign, the Suffolk store is just a little more than $1,000 from meeting its $50,000 goal for the year.

To reach its goal, administrators will continue to raise money by holding events for their employees to contribute their own funds.

“We have a few more events planned,” Howard said. “We hold breakfasts to benefit CHKD every other Thursday, do cookouts and have days for our employees to donate money to wear jeans. We’re going to do everything we can to help how we can.”