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    Wal-Mart to Match Salvation Army Kettle Donations

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. said yesterday it would begin matching up to $1 million in donations from Salvation Army kettles at its stores.

    The announcement comes at a time when Target Corp. and other major retailers have banned Salvation Army bell ringers from their stores. Target said the move was made necessary because other charities had requested to solicit in front of its stores, and the company needed to be consistent.

    Wal-Mart, which operates more than 3,600 domestic stores, supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam's Club warehouse stores, said its match program will run through Christmas Eve.

    Wal-Mart restricts which groups can solicit at its properties, but allows its local stores to select the specific nonprofits.

    "We hope our customers join us in donating what they can to benefit an organization that does so much in our communities to serve families in need," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Betsy Reithemeyer said in a statement. "The Salvation Army red kettles and the bell ringers are truly a holiday tradition worth keeping."

    The Salvation Army said that the kettle donations are spent locally and that the Wal-Mart match will extend local donations.

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