TAMPA, Fla., June 25, 2010 — A month-long campaign culminated yesterday with a $1 million gift from a restaurant chain to a nonprofit troop-support organization.
Operation Homefront received the donation at a reception held in an Outback Steakhouse restaurant here.
Participating Outback Steakhouse restaurants around the country held a “Thanks for Giving” campaign in March, in which customers could demonstrate support for the nation’s servicemembers by ordering from a special “Red, White and Bloomin’ ” menu. A portion of the proceeds from menu sales during the March initiative contributed to the $1 million commitment Outback Steakhouse made to Operation Homefront, officials said.
“The generosity of Outback Steakhouse is an incredible testament of sustaining support to our servicemembers and their families,” said Jim Knotts, chief executive officer of Operation Homefront. “With the ongoing deployments in Iraq, increased deployments to Afghanistan and severe economic challenges, the needs are greater than ever for basic necessities like food, utilities and rent. We know military families struggle in meeting the most basic of needs, and this generous $1 million donation will make a significant difference.
“As a result of Outback Steakhouse and country music superstar Tim McGraw’s collaborative efforts,” Knotts continued, “we are genuinely privileged to be able to accept this donation and thereby continue to serve our country by serving military families. Thank you for your continued partnership in this most-honorable endeavor.”
Liz Smith, CEO of OSI Restaurant Partners — a company that owns several restaurant chains, including Outback — thanked servicemembers and their families for their service, and Outback customers for their support.
“The sacrifices that our troops and their families make so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have in the United States is something Outback employees have recognized and appreciated since we opened our doors 22 years ago,” she said. “As we express our sincere appreciation to those serving our country, we would also like to thank the countless Americans who rallied behind our ‘Thanks for Giving’ program.”
In addition, Outback partnered with country music superstar Tim McGraw during his “Southern Voice” concert tour. Proceeds from a Southern Voice commemorative T-shirt also will be donated to Operation Homefront.
Operation Homefront provides direct services that alleviate emergency financial burdens for servicemembers and their families, as well as counseling and recovery support.
The group provides financial assistance with checks paid directly to mortgage lenders, auto mechanics, contractors, hospitals, doctors, dentists and other providers within 24 to 72 hours of receiving a complete application. Services include emergency food; emergency home repairs; financial assistance; critical baby items such as formula, food and diapers; vehicle repairs and donations; furniture; and household items.
Operation Homefront also operates two Operation Homefront Villages that offer free transitional housing where wounded warriors can live with their families as they undergo treatment in Washington, D.C., or San Antonio.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)