It didn’t take long for H Street’s new Wal-Mart to establish itself as a good neighbor in the eyes of one local veterans organization.
When the caterer who volunteered to donate food for the United States Veterans Initiative D.C. chapter’s annual holiday dinner had to cancel at the last minute, the big box retailer was among the network of local businesses that stepped in to ensure the feast could go on.
Wal-Mart ponied up enough turkey, ham, green beans, stuffing, salad and mashed potatoes to feed about 30 local veterans who are served by the U.S. VETS permanent housing program, which gives otherwise homeless veterans a place to live. Wednesday night’s hearty holiday dinner was served at the Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene Community Service Center in Southeast D.C.
D.C.-based training and communications firm Niche Workforce Solutions volunteered its community relations capabilities to help connect Wal-Mart with the nonprofit.
H Street store manager Eric Quist, a Navy veteran, was instrumental to making the donation possible, according to NWS.
“We were very excited,” said Linda Clark Holland, program manager for U.S. VETS. “We had no idea that they would be able to do so much.”
The Copper Canyon Grill of Silver Spring, Md., stepped in to prepare the food and United Planning Organization, a local agency focused on fighting poverty, offered to host. NWS staff volunteered to help serve the meal.
“We’re honored to be of service to our heroes especially during the holiday season,” John Hurley, executive director of NWS, said in a statement.
Clark Holland collected hats, gloves and coats to ensure each veteran could open a gift during the traditional Christmas dinner. She said U.S. VETS tries to organize a meal for every holiday in an effort to “keep that family atmosphere” for at-risk veterans.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.