As America celebrates Independence Day this month, JC Penney of Waxahachie has joined forces with the United Service Organizations (USO), a private organization dedicated to lifting the spirits of America’s troops and their families, by instituting the customer round-up program.

Deborah Sullivan, store leader for the Waxahachie location, said they are really excited about the partnership and the opportunity to make a difference in the community.

“We kicked off our round-up program with the USO this month,” Sullivan said. “What that means is every time a customer comes and shops, and they have a purchase, we’ll ask them to round-up their purchase to the nearest dollar.”

Sullivan continued by adding that 100 percent of the proceeds will go to benefit the USO. Along with those contributions, JC Penney will also donate $1million to the USO.

Rheda White-Brunner is the director for the Dallas/Fort Worth USO. White-Brunner said they are thrilled about this initiative, and will definitely put the proceeds toward a good cause.

“This is wonderful that a store like JC Penney is willing to help us support our mission,” White-Brunner said. “Our goal is to lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families. And, with the financial support of JC Penney, we will continue doing that.”

She continued by saying that the proceeds will be designated to building two Warrior and Family Centers in the area.

“These monies will be used for the Operation Enduring Care program,” White-Brunner said. “Our wounded warriors and their families go through so much,” she said. “When they return home because of an injury, the family members of the soldier suffer as well. We wanted to do something that would help every member of the family by creating this program.”

White-Brunner said focusing on the entire family is key, with the centers going to help meet the needs of the whole family.

“These centers are going to allow injured soldiers and their families an opportunity to hang out, while they recover,” she said. “Many times they are in a hospital facility or something like that, and it can be depressing for them and their families. These facilities will meet the physical needs of the soldiers, and allow them to be in a home-like environment.”

She said families will be able to enjoy meals together, family fun time together and children will be able to participate in normal activities. She added the facilities will enable the USO to give families a type of get away and newness of life.

Also, contributions may be made through the social media site Foursquare, but the customer must check in with the local JC Penney in order for the donation to count.

About the USO

Supporting America’s troops was the first mission of the USO. In 1941, as it became clear that the nation was heading into World War II, several organizations mobilized to support the growing U.S. military: the Salvation Army, Young Men’s Christian Association, Young Women’s Christian Association, National Catholic Community Services, National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt created synergy among these agencies by forming the United Service Organizations, with the objective of providing the emotional support the troops needed.

Over time, the USO has evolved, developing new programs and services to meet the ever-changing needs of the troops and their families, while holding fast to the original mission.

Today, the USO continues to lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families, and will continue to be there for them until every one comes home.

About JC Penney

JC Penney is a chain of American mid-range department stores based in Plano. The company operates 1,107 department stores in all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico. JC Penney also operates catalog sales merchant offices nationwide in many small markets. Before 1966, most of its stores were located in downtown areas.

As shopping malls became more popular in the latter half of the 20th century, JC Penney followed the trend by relocating its stores to anchor malls. In more recent years, the chain has continued to follow consumer traffic, echoing the retailing trend of opening some stand-alone stores, including some next door to competitors. Certain stores are located in power centers and can be considered big-box stores. The company has been an internet retailer since 1998. It has streamlined its catalog and distribution while undergoing renovation improvements at the store level.

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