Millions raised during WWP project

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Friday, Southeastern Grocers announced more than $3 million was raised at their stores on Saturday, July 4 to support the Wounded Warrior Project Independence Program.
According to previous Item coverage, Southeastern Grocers owns BI-LO, Harveys and Winn-Dixie stores. All profits and donations made at their 790 stores that day were donated to the WWP.
The WWP helps warriors who rely on the support of their family and friends due to injuries suffered while in active duty, such as brain, spinal cord or other neurological conditions. Each specific plan is designed to provide a future with purpose at no cost to the warriors or their support teams, previous coverage states.
“I am deeply moved by the outpouring of support this program received from our associates, customers and even from individuals living outside of the communities we serve,” CEO and President of Southeastern Grocers Ian McLeod said in a release. “This contribution to help support the Independence Program would not be possible without the generosity of our associates who gave their time to work in our stores on Independence Day and our customers and vendor partners who shopped with us and made extra contributions to the fund.”
WWP CEO Steve Nardizzi said in the release the alliance with Southeastern Grovers is crucial to WWP’s lifelong commitment to honor and empower Wounded Warriors.
“The overwhelming success of the Independence Day promotion surpassed every expectation we had, and we are profoundly grateful to Southeastern Grocers and each and every shopper who came out in support of those wounded protecting the freedoms we all hold so dear. The generosity Southeastern Grocers demonstrated exemplifies what can be achieved when like-minded charities and corporations join forces,” Nardizzi said in the release.
In addition to the Fourth of July’s profits, funds were also raised through contributions made in stores during checkout and through the organization’s website, the release states.
Kate Speakes, Mississippi District Director for Winn-Dixie stores, said customer response from the two locations in Pearl River County was overwhelming.
“Customers not only shopped, but also donated at the register,” she said. “Veterans were invited to sign the WWP sign at the stores. The store on Hwy. 43 N posted a sign announcing the amount of funds raised because their customers were excited and invested in the project.”
On July 4, Speakes said she was standing outside a Winn-Dixie in Long Beach wearing a red, white and blue plastic hat. When the weather became too hot, she took the hat off.
“Almost immediately, someone asked me if I was collecting donations for the WWP and people just began emptying their wallets into the hat,” Speakes said. “One woman, who lost her father and brother in Vietnam, cried as she made her donation.”
Speakes said some people who don’t have a Winn-Dixie in their area, drove to the nearest store for their chance to give back.
“It’s mind blowing the difference you can make in someone’s life,” Speakes said. “It was amazing and we couldn’t have done it without the customers.”
Pearl River County is home to two Winn-Dixie supermarkets, located at 1701 Mississippi 43 N. and 801 Hwy. 11 S. in Picayune.
For more information about WWP and Winn-Dixie visit the websites at and

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