Suffolk Walmart leads nation in fundraising

Published 9:14 pm Thursday, May 19, 2011

Barbara A. Cross donates $1 in exchange for a cookie from maintenance associate Janice Harden May 19 to help the North Main Street Wal-Mart raise funds for the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. The store has raised $28,345 since May 1.

A Suffolk retailer is beating out all of its counterparts in a nationwide fundraising effort.

The Walmart on North Main Street has raised more money than any of the company’s stores across the country in its fundraising efforts for the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. The store is holding a community yard sale Saturday to raise even more money.

All Walmart and Sam’s Clubs stores are gathering funds for different charities from May 1 until June 13. The Suffolk location sits atop of a list of 4,512 stores for collecting the most funds for its charity, CHKD.

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As of Thursday, the store had amassed $28,345 in donations.

“It’s blowing us away,” said Lisa Davenport, CHKD director of corporate relations and events. “Suffolk was leading the way last year, and they are leading the way this year.”

Frances Shelton, a store zone supervisor who is heading the collection efforts, said all of the employees are excited about the effort.

The store is implementing several events to collect donations, including having cookouts for associates and selling snow cones, cookies and slices of cake.

But Shelton said asking for donations has been the most successful method.

“I would credit our success to the cashiers and customers,” she said. “Most of the money is being raised through the registers.”

Cashiers are asking all customers if they would like to add a donation to CHKD their totals.

Shelton said her store faces the dual challenges of being a small volume store and having competitors nearby. However, she said everyone is motivated to reach the store goal and raise $60,000 to raise by June 13.

To help get motivated, cashiers set daily goals for themselves and are honored with a loudspeaker announcement when they meet it. Also, the associate who collects the most every week receives a prize for his or her efforts.

“They’re doing anything and everything they can,” Davenport said. “They believe that every dollar counts.”

The store set a goal of $60,000 to raise before June 13, and $1,000 collected each day.

Shelton said it has exceeded its daily goal every day so far.

All 26 stores in the Hampton Roads region collectively set a goal of $1 million for the hospital. Davenport said the hospital is looking to replace its MRI machine, which carries a $2 million price tag, and the Walmart employees are taking it upon themselves to help.

“When they know the need, they know how they can make a difference,” she said.

In addition to North Main Street store being the No. 1 location in the nation, stores in the Hampton Roads region account for 10 of the top 20 locations that have collected the most money.

Davenport said it’s an amazing achievement, especially because the region is competing against markets with four times the number of stores like New York and Philadelphia.

Collectively, the Hampton Roads region’s stores have gathered $309,000, about 90 percent of the $340,000 they collected last year.

Davenport said CHKD is thrilled about the stores’ progress.

“When they said (the $1 million goal) to me, I thought that’s incredible, but now, to watch it week to week, we can’t wait,” she said.

The community yard sale on Saturday will be held in front of the store from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call the store at 925-0224.