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Support Special Olympics by shopping at your commissary

by Staff Sgt. Randy Redman
Thunderbolt editor
photo by Staff Sgt. Randy Redman
Brian Blanchette of Acushnet, Mass., proudly displays his mettle -- and his medal -- at Professor's Gym in New Bedford.

While many people this time of year have a list of things to accomplish and lofty ideals to make themselves a better person, many don't have the spare time to put those aspirations into practice. What if there was a way to make the world a better place just by buying everyday items like soap, diapers or toothepaste? During January, commissary shoppers will have an opportunity to make a contribution to their community through the annual Procter & Gamble Special Olympics promotion.

"By checking out the deals in the P&G BrandSaver coupon booklet distributed in base housing or in-store at the commissary, shoppers can take advantage of additional savings on those items, and for each participating product purchased, P&G will donate 10 cents to Special Olympics, up to $750,000 total," said Paula Parsons, marketing manager for P & G Military Markets. Special Olympics is an international organization dedicated to empowering individuals with mental retardation to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition. Since there is no charge to participate in Special Olympics, the organization relies heavily on contributions to meet its financial obligations.

Last year, donations to local Special Olympics chapters supporting military communities exceeded $90,000. MacDill's efforts generated $2,500 to the Hillsborough County's Special Olympics program. These funds were used to support several activities such as swimming, golf, gymnastics, basketball and figure skating, for the local Special Olympics' athletes.

For 24 years, global manufacturer Procter & Gamble has been a proud sponsor of Special Olympics, Inc. With over $30 million in donations, P&G has assisted Special Olympics in efforts to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with mental retardation, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

"The promotion's success has been the result of merchandising many popular brands, such as Tide, Pampers, Charmin, Bounty, Crest, Olay and Pringles, among many others," said Ms. Parsons. "In addition to saving up to 30 percent by using their commissary benefit (instead of) shopping outside the gate, shoppers not only enjoy extra savings this month, but also help Special Olympics athletes realize their dreams."

Mr. Jim O'Connell, senior manager/corporate marketing at P&G, said that this promotion is much more than a marketing gimmick.

"The promotion delivers increased sales volume for our brands, but more importantly, P&G is helping change the way society views people with an intellectual disability," said Mr. O'Connell. He knows the power of the movement firsthand, as he serves on the board of directors for his local Special Olympics Ohio Program in Cincinnati.

"I have been involved with Special Olympics for many years and am proud that the leadership at P&G understands how valuable a relationship with Special Olympics is," he said. The promotion in the United States has spawned similar P&G -Special Olympics promotions in other parts of the world. Special Olympics Programs in Poland, Lebanon, Russia and Puerto Rico have partnered with P&G in those countries to help support the global movement.

Most people can't devote the time Mr. O'Connell has, but people can now make a difference just by going about life's daily business.




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