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Operation Homefront Kicks Off Holiday Meals for Military Events

Walmart is the presenting sponsor for 2013, extending program reach to 17,000 military families nationwide

SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Operation Homefront, the national non-profit dedicated to providing emergency financial and other assistance to the families of our nation's military, this week kicks off the first of 22 events taking place across the nation through December 19 to distribute holiday meals to military families.  Walmart is the presenting sponsor of the 2013 Holiday Meals for Military program.

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The Holiday Meals for Military program began Thanksgiving 2009 as a result of a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum.  A soldier, his wife, and infant had a handful of grocery items they could not afford, so a Beam Inc. employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries, inspiring program planning to begin.  Since that time, the program has grown from initially providing 500 meals kits to military families in 2009 to providing 7,500 this holiday season. As founding sponsor, Beam continues to be a key partner of the program.

The 7,500 meal kits, which include all the grocery items necessary for a full holiday meal – including a $30 Walmart gift card for the purchase of perishable items – will be distributed to lower and mid-grade ranking military families, E-1 thru E-6, at 22 locations nationwide in December 2012, including Camp Pendleton, Calif.; Fort Stewart, Ga.; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Knox, Ky.; Great Lakes Naval Base, Ill.; and Joint Base Andrews, Md.

"The expenses of the holiday season can be especially difficult for military families," said Jim Knotts, President and CEO of Operation Homefront.  "Often these families are split up during the holiday season from deployments, or must travel long distances to be together.  Making their holiday easier by providing this meal is one way we show that we are thankful for the sacrifices that they have made for our country."

Distributing these meals is an important undertaking that will be carried out in military communities and at local Operation Homefront Field Offices across the nation.  For more information on how to volunteer or donate to the cause, please log on to www.HolidayMealsForMilitary.org.

Walmart is also making grants to several Operation Homefront field offices to provide additional meals to military families, bringing the total number of families served this holiday season to 17,000, part of the company's overall commitment of $1.5 million to Operation Homefront's 2013 holiday programs.

In addition to Walmart and Beam, major partners for the program include Chinet, Thirty-One Gifts, CDW, Miller Lite, Dole Packaged Foods, Southern Wine & Spirits, and The Visual Pak Companies.

About Operation Homefront:  A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 4,500 volunteers with nationwide presence who provide emergency and other financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront has met more than 750,000 needs of military families since its inception in 2002.  Nationally, 95 percent of total donations to Operation Homefront go directly to programs that provide support to our military families.  For more information, go to www.OperationHomefront.net.

SOURCE Operation Homefront

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