Chicago − December 22, 2016 – Beam Suntory, the world’s third-largest premium spirits company, has donated $100,000 to Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit that provides emergency financial and other assistance to military families and wounded warriors. The donation will support the Holiday Meals for Military program, which will provide 12,000 family meals this holiday season. Beam Suntory’s donation alone funded 8,500 meals, being distributed on 28 U.S. military bases this month.
The Chicago-based spirits company has donated more than $2.5 million to Operation Homefront since 2006 as part of its commitment to supporting the communities where its employees live and work, a pillar of its Growing for Good social responsibility platform. The Holiday Meals for Military program began Thanksgiving 2009 as the result of a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they could not afford, so a Jim Beam employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. Since that time, the program has grown from initially providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to this season’s 12,000 meals.
“Big things start with small steps,” says Ken Ruff, vice president, national accounts, Beam Suntory. “When I helped start the program, it was to support one family that I knew was in need. Back then I never would have imagined it would spur a national program with so many great partners helping so many families, year after year. It’s inspiring to see what we’ve been able to do together – and what we can still do.”
“As former military, this organization, and this program is very close to my heart,” Beam Suntory Chairman and CEO Matt Shattock said. “I am humbled by the sacrifices military families make, and we are honored to support to support this important cause.”
In addition to the donation, Beam employees will be volunteering to help pack meals in Illinois and Tennessee. Since 2008, Beam Suntory employees have provided thousands of volunteer hours.
“The holiday season can be an expensive time of the year, particularly for military families who live on a stretched family budget,” said John I. Pray, Jr., president and CEO, Operation Homefront. “Beam Suntory’s continued support helps Operation Homefront provide military families with grocery items necessary for a full holiday meal. It’s just one of the many ways we show our collective gratitude for their service and help them thrive in the communities they have worked so hard to protect.”