Walmart, PepsiCo Publicly Celebrate Every Day Heroes

Frito-Lay products highlight retail associates who make a simple yet positive impact
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Walmart, PepsiCo Publicly Celebrate Every Day Heroes
The Every Day Heroes featured on Frito-Lay products at Walmart have gone to remarkable lengths to serve others.

Heroism lives in the simple acts of service and kindness that can make a person’s day. This was evident during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when grocery employees became known as frontline heroes for their part in feeding families during the period of crisis. And that’s why Walmart has launched “Every Day Heroes,” a joint recognition effort with PepsiCo, Inc., to engage customers in celebrating associates and everyday heroes who serve their communities, their customers and their teams.

Beginning July 22, select Frito-Lay products in Walmart stores are specially packaged to recognize and celebrate Walmart associates. Each product will feature a QR code linking to a site where customers can learn firsthand how these Every Day Heroes make an impact through their work.

“Considering what a unique year it’s been for our business – both in its obstacles and in the incredible ways our associates have overcome them – we see this program as an equally unique way of recognizing the people at the center of all we do,” wrote Julie Murphy, chief people officer at Walmart U.S., in a blog post. “We hope that our associates seeing themselves and their coworkers recognized in this forum will elevate their sense of professional pride and inspire others to follow their example.”

Below are some of the Every Day Heroes at Walmart who have gone to remarkable lengths to serve others.

NaToya Champion, Oklahoma City, Okla.: During the pandemic, Champion asked her team to wear yellow for Senior Shopping Hour to signify optimism and positivity, so customers would feel hopeful and happy. The idea was a hit, and her team has now worn yellow every Tuesday for a whole year.  

April Coolidge, Pageland, S.C.: A cheerful, energetic person by nature and a member of the elite Road Team Member Group of the American Road Team Association, Coolidge helps bring joy to her peers by spreading positivity and kindness. She takes pride representing women in trucking, and in her nearly-three years driving with Walmart, has worked to reinforce the industry’s commitment to safety, sustainability and professionalism. 

Frederick James Efu-Awich, Tucson, Ariz.: A 15-year Walmart associate, Efu-Awich helps uplift spirits through regular participation in Days of Giving, where store teams contribute to community organizations in need of support. 

Kevin Gaines, Gulfport, Miss.: Gaines spreads joy to his team through “Thank You Thursdays,” celebrations recognizing team contributions via social posts and thank you notes. When he’s not actively thanking his associates for their hard work, he’s trying to help them become better – creating a culture of positivity and improvement that helps associates at Store 6323 continue growing.  

Toshua Harrell,Corbin, Ky.: Harrell helps spread joy among her associates by gifting them with Easter treat bags, hero pins and even personal pizzas to keep their spirits high. In her 21 years with Walmart, she has learned that giving back to her associates, and her community, is one way to make a difference that everyone will feel.  

Candace Vandervaart, Las Vegas: Vandervaart is a 20-year associate who helps to spread joy and uplift spirits by creating “locker treats” for team members that include fun and encouraging messages to brighten their day. She’s big on engagement, and looks for every chance to help her fellow associates have their best day at work. 

“No matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges, there is something in each day to embrace and cherish,” remarked Efu-Awich. “There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we see and appreciate it.”

Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates more than 10,500 stores under 48 banners in 24 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Walmart-owned Sam’s Club ranks No. 9 on the list.

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