Friday, July 2, 2010

Let Freedom Ring

We are two days away from the Fourth of July, and while the holiday is celebrated with barbecues, picnics, and family, it is also important to take a moment to remember those serving in the armed forces who have allowed us to enjoy our freedoms. Retailers and food and beverage consumer packaged goods companies have worked to keep soldiers top of mind by recognizing them not only today, but also throughout the year.

The Coca-Cola Company has been a longtime supporter of the United Service Organizations, or USO, the association that connects the American people with the U.S. military. As a founding corporate partner, Coke has provided philanthropic and promotional support to create awareness of the USO's mission. In addition, Anheuser-Busch serves as a Worldwide Awareness Partner of the USO, and JCPenney has also donated generously to the USO.

Target is another company actively supporting the military community. Its many programs include United Through Reading, which allows deployed parents to read books aloud on DVD, then send the recording to their children at home; Our Military Kids, a program designed to aid the children of severely injured service members by providing them with grants to participate in sports, fine arts, or tutoring; and Operation Gratitude, where Target employees voluntarily assemble care packages for troops overseas.

In 2009, Sears Holdings created a partnership with Rebuilding Together to assist military families facing hardship called Heroes at Home. The volunteer home rehabilitation organization assists homeowners with completing home repairs and other household improvements. Recently, The Hershey Company joined in the effort by producing limited edition Hershey's Kisses that feature a patriotic theme for sale exclusively at Kmart stores. You can also visit the Heroes at Home website to send an encouraging message to our troops.

Kraft Foods is another company with a long history of military support. During WWII, Kraft developed portable food for soldiers, called "K-rations." Today, Kraft's Oscar Mayer brand provides troops with hot dogs, deli meats, and smiles by bringing its products and Wienermobile to military cafeterias, bases, and commissaries around the world.

Finally, Very Best Baking, the recipe website behind the brands of Nestle Toll House, Carnation, and Libby's, offers sound tips in sending goodies to military men and women serving overseas. Visit the site to learn what and how bakers can send treats to the Middle East.

What other companies offer programs to support our armed forces? Please leave your comments and tell me more. Have a safe and happy Independence Day!

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