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Local Walmart donates time and money to the community

By Gheni_Platenburg
Sept. 10, 2010 at 4:10 a.m.

Victoria Walmart Donation Recipients from left to right: Caitlin Mooney, Sarah Hawes, Natie Padierna, Emett Alvarez, Andrea Blomberg, Caraline Funari, Gabriel Gutierrez and Phallon Crawford.

Donations are issued at the beginning of every month.

Three checks issued during a Friday afternoon donation presentation served as an example of the Victoria Walmart's efforts to live up to its "live better" company slogan.

"It's not just to promote the company. It's more about having the satisfaction that we are helping out the community," said Steve Sanchez Jr., assistant manager for the Victoria Walmart.

Every month, Walmart doles out money to nonprofit organizations in need.

Angie Potts, community event coordinator for Walmart, said the money the company donates comes from two sources: a $14,000 annual Walmart community involvement grant, which is issued to Walmart stores nationwide, and sales-based donations: money that is set aside from individual stores' monthly sales profits.

Potts estimated the Victoria Walmart issues around $2,000 to $3,000 a month in sales-based donations.

All local nonprofit organizations can apply for the funds.

A committee of Walmart managers and associates make the final donation recipient decisions.

Three organizations received funds from the community involvement grant during Friday's presentation.

Our Lady of Sorrows Chapter of the Knights of Columbus received $2,000, while the Texas Zoo and the Victoria West High School cheerleading squad received $1,000 each.

The groups already have plans for their money.

Emett Alvarez, who is the Grand Knight for Councils 83 and 88 of the Knights of Columbus, said his organization will use its money for various parish and catechism needs; the Victoria West cheerleaders said they have plans to use the money toward spirit items for their athletic teams.

"We are starting up new traditions," said Phallon Crawford, Victoria West High School cheer coach. "We're very grateful for their help with our organization."

Andrea Blomberg, executive director for the Texas Zoo, said the zoo plans to use its money toward completing its new archeological dig site.

The site will be housed in the zoo's animal kingdom building, and is expected to open in November.

It will include more than 100 fossils from 20 varieties of animals native to Texas. Youth coming to the zoo will be able to learn about archaeology.

"It's an educational play opportunity for them," said Blomberg.

Store personnel said writing checks is just a small part of Walmart's efforts to better the Victoria community.

In addition to giving away school supplies to area students, the store also provides lunch to children at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Victoria, builds houses with Habitat for Humanity and provides numerous other monetary and supply donations to local groups.

"We do a lot for the community," said Potts. "We're just not outspoken about it."

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