Miami, FL–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–April 11, 2003–More than 44 million adult Americans are functionally illiterate. They can’t fill out a job application on their own or read to their children at night. Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB associates are doing something to help create a happy ending to that story.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is hosting a “Words are Your Wheels” Literacy Day at it stores nationwide on Saturday, April 12, to raise awareness for the fight against illiteracy. Associates at area Wal-Mart stores and SAM’S CLUBS will celebrate the day with the following special activities:
— Announcing donations of $1,000 to literacy initiatives in the area;
— Hosting local authors in the stores and clubs for book readings; and
— Raising awareness for a national toll-free referral hotline sponsored by Wal-Mart to offer help to those who cannot read.
$6,000 in area donations
The following organizations will be receiving $1,000 literacy grants from local Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB associates.
— Children’s Charity League of Dade County
— South Ridge High School
— Lake Stevens Elementary School
— Caribbean Elementary School
— Hialeah Gardens Elementary School
— Young Men’s Christian Association of Greater Miami
Nationally, associates at the company’s 3,400 Wal-Mart stores and SAM’S CLUBS are announcing $3.4 million in donations to thousands of local non-profit organizations or educational initiatives that are helping individuals in their local community learn to read. The company is donating $191,000 to literacy initiatives in the State of Florida
“Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB associates are proud to join the effort to improve reading skills in our country,” said Doug McMillon, executive vice president – merchandising for SAM’S CLUBS. “It is never too late to start.” To date the company’s donations to local literacy efforts nationwide total nearly $7 million.
Book readings to feature local authors
To celebrate the donations, area stores and clubs are hosting local authors, songwriters, playwrights or journalists for book readings. The public is invited to attend the readings, which are scheduled for various times throughout the day. Free bookmarks will be distributed to the first 500 attendees at each store or club. Scheduled to appear at area stores and clubs are:
Saturday, April 12
8651 NW 13th Terrace Wal-Mart
10 a.m. – Singer Jorge Moreno
2 p.m. – Marcia King Gamble
8425 NW 13th Terrace SAM’S CLUB
11 a.m. – Singer Jorge Moreno
4 p.m. – Victoria Warren
(Editor’s Note: Please contact your local store or club to confirm appearances and book-reading times.)
Toll-free literacy hotline helps 13,000 callers
The “Words are Your Wheels” initiative also includes Wal-Mart’s national toll-free literacy referral service at 1-800-929-4458. This free service, which is available to receive calls from 7 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. CST, seven days a week, gives contact information to callers about literacy outreach organizations in their community providing reading assistance. The service is funded by Wal-Mart and has been operating since May 2002. To date the service has helped 13,000 people and currently averages 1,000 calls per week.
According to Betsy Reithemeyer, director of the Wal-Mart Foundation, the company has compiled and uses a database of more than 5,000 local literacy organizations to help callers. Most of the local organizations provide one-on-one or small-group teaching services free of charge. “Our goal for the toll-free service is to help as many people as possible hook up with a local non-profit or educational group that offers tutoring,” said Reithemeyer.
About Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
With annual sales of $244.5 billion, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates more than 2,870 discount stores, Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets, and more than 520 SAM’S CLUBS in the United States. Internationally, the company operates about 1,275 units. Wal-Mart employs over 1.3 million associates worldwide. The company’s securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. Last year, Wal-Mart associates raised and contributed more than $200 million to support communities and local non-profit organizations. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has received the 2002 Fortune magazine No. 1 Most Admired Company in the U.S., along with receiving the 2002 Ron Brown Award, the highest Presidential Award recognizing outstanding achievement in employee relations and community initiatives.
More information about Wal-Mart can be located on-line at http://www.walmartstores.com and http://www.walmart.com. The SAM’S CLUB Web site can be accessed at http://www.samsclub.com. And more information about Wal-Mart’s Good. Works. community involvement is available online at http://www.walmartfoundation.org.
Zulema Wachs 305/470-4510 xt.190
Wendy Sept, 479/204-9457