Safeway Inc. this past Veterans Day weekend raised $1 million for the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that exists to honor and empower military men and women who incurred service-related injuries on or after September 11, 2001.
All Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Dominick's, Randalls, Genuardi's, Tom Thumb and Carrs stores in the U.S. dedicated Veterans Day weekend to honoring past and present service members and collecting donations to support the Wounded Warrior Project's outreach to service members who were severely injured while serving their country.
The Wounded Warrior Project offers a variety of programs and services including rehabilitation, stress counseling, career retraining and social outlets.
"Our customers enthusiastically showed their support and respect not only for the work of the Wounded Warrior Project, but for veterans," said Larree Renda, Safeway EVP and chair of the Safeway Foundation. "This was an opportunity for our company and customers to help the heroes who risk their lives to defend the freedoms that we hold dear."
In a number of stores across the country, Wounded Warrior ambassadors met Safeway customers, elected officials and community leaders to tell their personal stories of overcoming combat-related injuries and how the Wounded Warrior Project helped them with rehabilitation, counseling and career services. In some cases, the ambassadors were joined by some of the organization's most famous supporters. For example, Safeway's Tom Thumb stores in Texas teamed with NASCAR Spring Cup series driver Bobby Labonte to present a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project at the Texas Motor Speedway. Labonte also took his #47 car, which was sporting the Wounded Warrior Project logo, to a Safeway store in Phoenix to meet customers and rally donations.
In Dublin, Calif., California Congressman Jerry McNerney and other local elected officials attended a Veterans Day ceremony and helped Operation SAM (Supporting All Military) assemble care packages and wrote "letters from home" to active duty personnel overseas. Nearby at Safeway's corporate headquarters, employee volunteers also assembled care packages and wrote letters.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined military personnel and news anchors at a Studio City Vons store for a grocery "Bagging Boot Camp" competition. On Saturday, three Boulder, Colorado-area Safeway store managers, all retired military officers, were joined by a Wounded Warrior Project ambassador and were presented with the Game Day Ball at the University of Colorado's Folsom Field before 55,000 fans.
These Veterans Day and Wounded Warrior Project events are just part of Safeway's outreach and commitment to people in the U.S. military. The company instituted a special career training and leadership program to prepare veterans for jobs in store management. The program recently gained Safeway recognition at a Pentagon ceremony naming the company an "Outstanding Employer" by the U.S. Navy. For its employees serving in the military reserve, Safeway covers the pay differential and extends full benefits for those who are called to active service. The Safeway Foundation also provided funding to the Center for Veteran's Advancement, a program of the Public Counsel Law Center, that assists veterans with a range of legal services and helps them secure the benefits they are entitled to.
Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway Inc. operates 1,694 stores in the United States and western Canada.