About 50 people, including National Guard soldiers, employees, and volunteers gathered at the Salina Walmart store Thursday morning to stuff holiday gift bags.
The holiday gift bags will go to National Guard families across the state. The Kansas National Guard nominated 400 of its families to receive hand packaged gift bags from Walmart to thank them for their service to our country.
Salina Walmart Store Manager Jeff Livingston tells KSAL News along with the Salina Walmart, stores in Topeka and Wichita are participating in the effort. He says that 57 bags were filled in Salina. The holiday gift bags include meal fixings such as turkey, potatoes, pie and rolls as well as a $75 Walmart gift card.
Among those volunteering in the effort were State Representative Diana Dierks, Salina City Commissioner Randall Hardy, as well as Megan Henry representing Senator Jerry Moran and Ashley Howard representing U.S. Representative Tim Huelskamp.
Dierks tells KSAL News that her father and her husband were both in the military, so the project is something that is a little extra special to her.
Livingston says it was a great experience to be involved. “Our crew was chomping at the bit to load the bags and get them to the cars so they can be delivered” he says.
“Just as many Americans find the holidays to be a challenging time financially, many of our military members do as well, so we are very grateful for Walmarts generous contribution to our Kansas National Guard members,” said Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, Kansas Adjutant General. “Our troops make tremendous sacrifices to serve our state and nation and this will help ensure a wonderful holiday meal with their families this year.”
In Kansas, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation donated $50,000 to make the gift bag project happen. Nationally, Walmart is committing $20 million to veterans and military families through 2015.
After all of the bags were finished Thursday morning, all of those involved in the effort broke out into applause.