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BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has reached an important milestone in its history of partnering with Children's Miracle Network: The retailer has donated and raised more than $300 million to the organization's hospitals over 18 years.
The news was made public yesterday by Children's Miracle Network as it kicked off its annual "Miracle Months" fundraising campaign, which runs from April through June. The organization noted that contributions made to it directly benefit 170 children's hospitals. Wal-Mart's participation in this year's effort encompasses 3,700 Wal-Mart stores, Sam's Clubs, Neighborhood Markets, and distribution centers.
"Wal-Mart associates have a strong commitment to give back and help others," said Betsy Reithemeyer, v.p. of Wal-Mart corporate affairs, in a statement. "One hundred percent of the dollars raised for Children's Miracle Network stays within the communities where funds are donated, which is in step with our philosophy of giving back locally. It is our customers and associates who help make miracles possible each year for the children at these hospitals."
"Wal-Mart's associate-based fund raising is unprecedented," commented Mick Shannon, co-founder of Children's Miracle Network. "In addition to contributions made through the Wal-Mart and Sam's Club Foundation, associates nationwide band together every year to carry out grass-roots fundraising efforts at their locations to help local children's hospitals -- and they engage customers and community to take part. It's a unique approach that works extremely well."
Through bake sales, softball and golf tournaments, fashion shows, and other activities during the campaign, including the purchase of Children's Miracle Network balloons at store registers, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club have helped fund new medical services, among them a newborn intensive care unit ambulance to transport the most critically ill infants to Children's Medical Center in Dallas; the "Angel One" helicopter used to transport the most serious patients from outlying areas to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock; and a traveling asthma clinic, the Breathmobile, to help children at the Phoenix Children's Hospital. Money raised by Wal-Mart and its divisions has also gone into crucial research into such childhood diseases as pediatric cancer, cystic fibrosis, and pediatric AIDS.
"With more than 1 million Wal-Mart Stores associates nationwide serving 138 million customers per week, the ability to help thousands of children through their efforts is quite amazing," added Shannon, "even just collecting donations through the purchase of balloons, one dollar at a time."
Wal-Mart operates Wal-Mart Stores, supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam's Club locations in the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.