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Bi-Lo shoppers will be able help soldiers call their families back home just by purchasing a prepared meal at the Southeast regional grocery chain. Bi-Lo has teamed up with Charlotte, N.C.-based Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (CCBCC) to support the United Service Organizations’ (USO) “Operation Phone Home” (OPH) program, which connects troops deployed overseas with their families through, among other things, a private phone network. For every rotisserie meal bundle sold at any Bi-Lo store, Coca-Cola will donate $1 to OPH, which buys troops about 20 minutes of talk time.
“When a service member is deployed overseas, separated from their friends and family, sometimes for long periods of time, nothing means more to them than to be able to hear the voice of a loved one,” explained Cathy Martens, VP of corporate alliances at Arlington, Va.-based USO. “The USO is grateful to have Coca-Cola and Bi-Lo partner with us to support a program that gives our troops that connection they want and need. And it’s only fitting that Americans can help our service men and women spend some quality time with their families, just by purchasing a meal to enjoy with their own family.”
The meal bundle consists of a rotisserie chicken, one 16-ounce Signature Deli Salad and one 1.25-liter bottle of any Coca-Cola product. The program runs from April 11 through May 8, or up to a $35,000 donation or while supplies of specially marked carriers last.
“What a great way for Bi-Lo customers to give back to those who sacrifice so much for our country,” said Brian Young, category manager for deli at Mauldin, S.C.-based Bi-Lo, which operates 206 supermarkets in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, employing about 16,995 people. “[This] deal … provides great value for our shoppers while also benefiting the troops.”
OPH also provides deployed troops with access to computers with free Internet bandwidth to connect with friends and family, along with free wireless Internet access for troops with their own computers. Further, prepaid phone cards are provided to service men and women overseas. The standard USO calling card offers about an hour of talk time.
Charlotte, N.C.-based CCBCC has more than 5,800 employees who make, sell and deliver Coca-Cola products in franchise sales territories across the Southeast.