As we wind down a month dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of military families, we take a moment to recognize a few of the companies that are offering unique opportunities for individuals to elevate their support of our troops. We salute the brands that are helping these brave men and women, and have compiled the following list of opportunities to give back, say thanks and share stories of courage.
The Kroger Co. continues to show strong support for military families through the Honoring Our Heroes campaign. Since 2010, Kroger has raised nearly $12 million for the United Service Organizations (USO). This represents the largest cumulative gift to the USO in the organization’s 75-year history. Customers can donate to the campaign online at www.honoringourheroes.com, or buy gift cards or donate money in Kroger stores.
In partnership with Honoring Our Heroes, Extra has been inviting consumers to share a pack of gum with a hero. All this month, Extra has been donating a pack of gum to the USO for every pack purchased at a participating Kroger store (up to 50,000 packs). You can also create and share messages of support for our troops through the “Share a Pack with a Hero” web page.
Another chain of supermarkets–Winn-Dixie, BI-LO and Harveys stores–is supporting veterans through a cause marketing partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project. After raising $3 million for Wounded Warrior Project on July 4th, the stores hosted a Wall of Honor community donation campaign this month. Customers purchased $1 dedication cards where they wrote messages to their own military heroes before adding them to a Wall of Honor in each store. Parent company Southeastern Grocers also invited people to honor their own warriors on the All for Honor Facebook page and by using the #AllforHonor hashtag.
Ice cream chain Baskin Robbins has a longstanding connection with the military: founders Burt Baskin and Irv Robbin were veterans of World War II. This past Veterans Day, Baskin Robbins asked the public to thank the more than 1.3 million active duty service members by texting THANKYOU to 50555. The company also donated 11 cents of every ice cream scoop sold in its U.S. locations on Veterans Day to the USO.
Another veterans organization is benefiting from sweet families who enjoy baking. Thanks to the “Treats for Troops” partnership between leading baking supplies company R&M International and Paralyzed Veterans of America, 10 percent of sales of R&M’s patriotic cookie cutters will go to PVA through the end of 2015. (Full disclosure: PVA is a For Momentum client).
In 2013, Starbucks pledged to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by 2018. This year, the company announced that it’s more than halfway to that goal. Starbucks offered a number of in-store promotions on Veterans Day and also contributed $5 to the USO Transition 360 Alliance for each newly activated special edition Veterans Starbucks Card or eGift.
Deployments, financial hardships and other challenges unique to servicemen and women can make it difficult to plan a wedding. Each November, Brides Across America helps make that process easier by providing free wedding dresses to military brides through Operation Wedding Gown. Brides Across America gives more than 2,000 dresses to military brides each year. This year, the organization has partnered with Overstock.com to offer a special collection of engagement rings, earmarking a portion of the proceeds for the nonprofit.
Sport Clips has proudly partnered with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) to create the Help a Hero scholarship program. Sport Clips locations nationwide accepted donations for the VFW this month, and on Veterans Day, the franchise donated $1 from every hair care service to Help a Hero. Also, many locations offered free haircuts to active-duty U.S. service members and veterans on Veterans Day. Consumers can donate directly to the Help a Hero scholarship program at anytime online.
Hats off to these cause marketing partnerships that benefit the 23 million veterans and their families in the U.S.–in November and throughout the rest of the year.