By Dan Bartlett, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs
Many of the decisions we make at Walmart require us to ask a host of complicated questions. But occasionally, we find ourselves in a position to ask one simple question: How can we help?
We’ve watched with the rest of the world as events unfold in Afghanistan. There are thousands of human lives at stake. They belong to generations of Afghan people whose history and culture are inextricably tied to the American men and women who have served in Afghanistan over our decades-long involvement there.
Throughout Walmart’s history, serving people and communities has been at the center of everything we do. We’re proud that our associates reflect the communities we serve, and we’ve heard from members of those communities – including Afghan and veteran associates – that they’re ready to help. Here’s how:
We’re looking to the cross-cultural experience of our veteran and Afghan associates to support refugees, service members and one another, as veteran leaders at Walmart explore ways to support these efforts. We’re offering options for customers to get involved. And the Walmart Foundation is committing $1 million to three nonprofits supporting Afghan refugees entering the U.S., as well as veterans and their families.
I know that for anyone who has traveled to Afghanistan, or worked with its citizens, what we’re witnessing is difficult. Afghan nationals have served alongside U.S. troops as translators, emissaries and soldiers in a fight against terror. These are people who have directly saved American lives, and now, we’re trying to help facilitate their access to some part of the freedom and future we’ve spent so long working toward together.
To the thousands of our associates who have served, we’re here to listen and provide support. But we’ll also look to your proven leadership. Many of you have a unique understanding of Afghanistan and its people. It’s our hope that through a shared experience, you can help one another, as you have before.
To our customers, we know that many of you are looking for opportunities to help those in need too. We’re working closely with nonprofits that are supporting the refugee crisis, and military veterans and families, to stand up registries on Walmart’s Registry for Good.
Through the $1 million committed, the Walmart Foundation will support three organizations in aiding incoming refugees, as well as veterans and their families. No One Left Behind and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service will continue their work with special immigrant visas (SIV), providing support as refugees enter the country. And the Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors (TAPS) will increase the capacity of its National Military Survivor Helpline, which provides 24/7 support for veterans, military spouses and family members of America’s fallen heroes.
We can help make a difference for Afghanistan’s refugees, our veterans and their families. Walmart’s purpose calls us to it. In moments of crisis, we support our communities – not just physical places, but the people who carry their culture. Walmart stands ready to continue that commitment in the weeks and months to come. Together, we must continue asking: How can we help?
To hear what this announcement means to our associates, visit the digital blog post, which includes a press kit containing video interviews, additional quotes and still photography.
Jennifer Rodriguez 800-331-0085