Generous support

Published 10:33 pm Friday, May 20, 2011

It’s not the biggest Walmart around — in fact, it’s not even the biggest Walmart in Suffolk — but folks at the Walmart store on North Main Street, near the downtown area, have shown they have a big heart when it comes to supporting a good cause.

Employees and customers at the downtown Suffolk store have put that facility in first place among Walmarts across the nation when it comes to fundraising for the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. Store employees set a goal to raise $60,000 for CHKD this year, and their weekly fundraising totals have put them on track to reach that goal.

Even more impressive, though, is the fact that customers and employees at the location have opened their wallets wider for CHKD than anywhere else in the country. That means there are 4,511 Walmart and Sam’s Club locations that trail the Suffolk store in commitment to helping CHKD provide medical services to children of all income levels.

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But the giving spirit doesn’t stop at the city line. Walmart stores around the Hampton Roads area have set high standards of generosity in the CHKD drive.

Collectively, the Hampton Roads region’s stores have gathered $309,000, about 90 percent of the $340,000 they collected last year. And stores in the Hampton Roads region account for 10 of the top 20 locations that have collected the most money. The 26 stores in the region collectively set a goal of $1 million for the hospital by June 13.

Part of the reason for the high level of collections in Hampton Roads surely must be the hospital’s high-profile location in Norfolk. Most people in the area know a child in their family or circle of friends who has benefited from the fine services available at the hospital, and often at little or no cost.

The children’s hospital hopes to purchase a $2-million MRI machine with these and other donations. Folks in Suffolk who have donated a little or a lot at the request of the clerks at Walmart will be justified in feeling a measure of pride when CHKD makes that purchase. And the managers and staff at Walmarts everywhere — but especially here in Suffolk — should share the spotlight for helping to make the fundraiser successful.