SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Roger Strukhoff, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Glenn Rossman, Cynthia Dunlop

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Local Walmarts To Host Red Kettles And "Fill The Truck" Toy Drive To Support The Salvation Army

CARNEGIE, Pa., Dec. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Walmart and The Salvation Army are pleased to announce that they are partnering this Christmas season to help provide new toys and coats to local needy children.  The "Fill the Truck" toy drive will be hosted at most Western Pennsylvania Walmart stores, along with more than 2,500 other Walmart stores across the country, on Saturday, December 8, 2012.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110412/MM81995LOGO)

In addition, Walmart and Sam's Club stores will host The Salvation Army's iconic red kettles and bell ringers this holiday season from Friday, November 23 to Monday, December 24, to collect much-needed funds to support the Army's social service at Christmas and year-round.  Last year in Western Pennsylvania, Walmart and Sam's Club stores helped The Salvation Army raise more than $670,000 locally, and more than $46 million nationally—nearly one-third of the record $147.6 million raised.  All donations made to the red kettles will remain in the neighborhood where it is raised, and help The Salvation Army provide food, clothing, shelter, financial assistance and other services to thousands of deserving needy families.

The "Fill the Truck" event will begin at 9:00 a.m. and run until 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 8, and is open to the general public who would like to donate new toys and coats to children who take part in The Salvation Army programs year-round.  Upon arrival, shoppers will receive a list of suggested gifts to help fill the truck or collection bin at the store.  Once the donation receptacle is full, The Salvation Army will distribute the gifts to local children in need.

This year, the Walmart Foundation also made a $1 million donation to The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign.  The donation will be split among the four Salvation Army Territories and support feeding programs, including meal programs for youths.  Notably, 81 percent of Salvation Army programs saw an increase in need from families with children due to the recession in 2011, according to "Growing up in a Downturn," a Salvation Army report from earlier this year.  The report also found that 56 percent of Salvation Army youth programs were operating at or beyond capacity, which includes feeding, education, athletic, artistic and religious programs.  As a result of the recession's lingering impact, The Salvation Army expects the need to continue with this Christmas season.

From its humble origin as a fundraiser started by a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco in 1891, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States.  As part of the campaign, more than 25,000 Salvation Army workers and volunteers spread throughout the country to ring bells daily and solicit spare change donations to the iconic red kettles from holiday shoppers.  In 2011, the campaign raised more than $147.6 million nationwide, a new record supported by the public's nickels, dimes, quarters, dollars, and credit cards (and the occasional diamond ring or gold tooth) all collected and used to help people in the communities where they were raised.  Last year, the funds helped The Salvation Army provide food, clothing, toys and other assistance to 30 million Americans in need.

Locally, the Western Pennsylvania Division's Red Christmas Kettle Campaign goal is slightly more than 2.8 million dollars.  The Allegheny County goal is set at $785,000.  Its 38 Worship and Service Centers are trailing behind 2011 figures by more than $91,000.

Both a church and a social service organization, The Salvation Army began in London, England in 1865.  Today, it provides critical services in 126 countries worldwide.  The 28-county Western Pennsylvania Division serves thousands of needy families through a wide variety of support services. To learn more about The Salvation Army in Western Pennsylvania, log onto www.salvationarmy-wpa.org, twitter.com/SalArmyPGH or facebook.com/SalvationArmyWesternPA.  The Salvation Army . . . Doing the most good . . . for the most people . . . in the most need.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better around the globe.  In May 2010, Walmart and its Foundation made a historic pledge of $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger in the U.S.  The Walmart Foundation also supports education, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness initiatives.  To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.

SOURCE Salvation Army Western Pennsylvania Division

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