Stop & Shop and AT&T support this weekend’s troop drive

by susan on October 12, 2012

Post image for Stop & Shop and AT&T support this weekend’s troop drive

Above: AT&T donated $4K this week to help send care packages to the troops. From left to right: Patricia Jacobs, President of AT&T New England; Steve Whynot, American Legion Commander; Lisa Braccio, troop drive organizer; Representative Carolyn Dykema; Geralyn Szczurko, Manager of Stop & Shop Westborough

When Lisa Braccio learned Stop and Shop would be donating $47K worth of goods they collected in September to the care package drive she’s holding this weekend, she was thrilled. She was also worried.

Having organized care package drives twice a year for many years now, Braccio knew the cost to ship all the items to US troops serving in Afghanistan would be steep. With advanced donations down this year, she wasn’t sure she’d be able to find the money.

Back in July, AT&T had donated 250 calling cards to send to troops overseas, so Braccio thought to turn to them for help. AT&T came through with a donation of $4K to cover the full cost of shipping the donations collected by Stop and Shop.

“To have AT&T really step up means there will be a lot of happy faces this holiday season,” Braccio said this week.

President of AT&T New England Patricia Jacobs said the company was happy to contribute to the care package drive, especially since it benefits servicemen and women who will be away from home over the holidays.

“My father was in the Navy for 36 years and he missed a lot of holidays,” Jacobs said. “To do this has real meaning for me.”

Representative Carolyn Dykema said she was gratified to see the business community rally to keep the care package drive going. “The community loves to support the troops, and Lisa makes it very easy and very personable,” Dykema said.

Braccio and her team of volunteers are hoping even more donations will come in from the community this weekend. You can drop off non-perishables, personal hygiene products, and more at the Senior Center on Saturday and Sunday. See this post for hours and a list of items they need. You can also make monetary donations to further offset the cost of shipping.

{ 16 comments }

1 Dean Dairy October 14, 2012 at 1:36 PM

“When Lisa Braccio learned that Stop and Shop would be donating $47K worth of goods they COLLECTED [from customers]… Braccio knew the cost to ship all the items to US troops serving in Afghanistan would be steep… AT&T came through with a donation of $4K to cover the full cost of shipping the donations COLLECTED by Stop and Shop.”

This confirms the exact suspicion I have when I refuse to make a donation for any of the charities of Stop & Shop’s pressures me to make at check out.

Stop & Shop is the ones making a profit on the transaction. But when I ask if if Stop & Shop will match my donation, they say “no”. Well, I can pick my own charities, thank you.

And now I learn they won’t even pay the freight to ship the donations they COLLECT from their customers overseas! (Kudos to AT&T.)

Yet it’s the Stop & Shop representative, not the customers, getting credit in the PR photo behind a prop check.

That’s even worse than Dykema getting her mug in the photo too. What did she do?

2 John Kendall October 15, 2012 at 9:54 AM

We all have our own opinions, but no matter what you think of Stop & Shop or Carolyn Dykema, you cannot put a price on these gifts to the soldiers. My daughter Kerry has been and will again be a recipient, as well as others in the units she works with in Afghanistan. Lisa Braccio does a magnificent job with this. Let’s leave the politics out of it and thank her for what she does for our soldiers!

3 Lisa Braccio October 15, 2012 at 4:13 PM

While we are all entitled to our opinion, I am really disheartened to feel the need to have to voice mine to respond to some inaccuracies on what should be such an amazing day of reflection of what some very generous and amazing donors, volunteers and Companies (AT&T and Stop & Shop) were able to accomplish this weekend. Pure magic was created here in Southboro this past weekend, where else can multi-communities come together to do something so special for the most deserving of people and be blessed with help from Corporate America to do it. What we do is not about politics, it is about leaving all of that at the door and sending boxes of love and support overseas to let our Service Members, male and female, know they are not forgotten.

When we started this in 2005, I never imagined that 16 Drives later we would still be going strong, as the last couple of Drives seemed somewhat slower than normal, I was thrilled and overjoyed when approached by Stop & Shop both last year and this year to extent our reach to their Customers in 15 stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut and keep our numbers steady in October, the most important of months to ship items for the Holidays.

Never once did Stop & Shop take credit for what their customers donated, I gave mysouthborough.com the information to update the Blog, and I felt saying Stop & Shop collected was clear that they were a distribution point for their customers. The wonderfulness of the story to them was what their customers were able to donate for those so deserving, $47,000 in product. Stop & Shop donated items, paid for their employees to sort 9 pallets of donated items per our request to make things easier on our end, they donated drinks, dessert and food for over 100 volunteers over the course of BOTH days as well as showed up with 40 volunteers, paid for transportation of these items from the stores to a distribution point and back here to Southboro to be shipped. I am forever grateful for what they offered to do with their customers help, and with all of our Communities donations, AT&T and Stop & Shop we shipped over 15,000 pounds of much needed love and support overseas in 654 boxes that will touch thousands of lives. I say thank you to our Corporate Partners for helping this happen.

Absolutely huge kudos to AT&T, they were an amazing partner as well that helped get these boxes to their rightful home before the Holidays. They took a concern off my plate with their generous offer of support. Isn’t what we are all supposed to do, be there when someone needs our help, what have we become that such a weekend of wonderfulness becomes about politics and negativity. I can tell you that when our Service men and women get these boxes they will appreciate what all our donors, AT&T and Stop & Shop were able to do for them.

As far as Carolyn Dykema, I INVITED Rep. Dykema to be a part of the photo. I thought it fitting, as she is my State Representative, to help me share our appreciation at what two Corporations did to help our little grassroots effort in her District and my dream come true once again. Also Rep. Dykema has been a volunteer at our events since she was just Carolyn from Holliston, again why I invited her to share in OUR moment of joy. I also INVITED a Stop & Shop person, who I might add is the person who created the partnership and worked her butt off to make this happen last year and this year. She deserves our praise not contempt for caring about a little group of people each year who wanted to do for our Troops. I might also add she has adopted and sent additional boxes to units in need herself.

If you would like to discuss further, as one of the founders of this event in 2005 we would be more than happy to have a cup of joe with you and have a healthy discussion. I am going back into my happy mode now where I can look back over the last 16 Drives and feel blessed that our Communities have shipped almost 7900 boxes weighing over 180,000 pounds, that is what we need to be talking about. A huge thank you to all that have made that happen, we all have much to be proud of.

4 Mark Ford October 15, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Thanks Lisa, Carolyn, Doriann, Stop & Shop, AT&T, and the myriad other volunteers for helping our soldiers!

Dean, really? How ’bout an apology now that you know more facts?

5 Dean Dairy October 16, 2012 at 12:14 AM

I stand by my critique of one corporation and one politician seeking inordinate credit for the charitable work of others. In so doing, if I failed in my attempt not to disparage the charitable work of so many others, then I apologize to them.

As a Stop & Shop customer attempting to clarify the exact nature of the transaction for readers, maybe I emphasized the wrong word (“collected”) in a post that said “Stop and Shop would be DONATING $47K worth of goods they collected in September…”

Clearly, the casual reader could be misled as to the source of the charity given the wording, especially when coupled with the photo.

And was it wrong to infer that Stop & Shop, who was now reaping positive PR from the QUIET generosity of their customers, would have watched the stuff rot on the loading dock rather than pay the freight? Sure sounds like AT&T had to come to the rescue.

And frankly I’m tired of politicians everywhere electioneering on the basis of taking credit for the expenditure of other people’s money.

I suppose part of what offends me most is that the people who tend to always end up in the spotlight where ever it is shown are hard to call-out, because in so doing YOU end up looking like the bad guy who’s disparaging the very people THEY are stepping over to garner credit for themselves. Can you tell me you haven’t witnessed that phenomenon in everyday life? I’m sure many readers here have, but never dare say anything, however, for that very reason. But I did. And I thought it was about time.

6 Pat Q. October 16, 2012 at 7:20 AM

Wow……pretty harsh “response”. Dean, on what basis do you make your assertion ,or more acurately i should say, do you base your attack….that Stop and Shop “would have watched the stuff rot on the loading dock rather than pay the freight”? That’s a pretty strong and petty accusation, no? Did you not read the posts from 2 of the participants who described just how much Stop and Shop did for the drive….providing employees, trucks, lunch, etc?

People are always “calling” out politicians and not considered the bad guy, as you say. It is a daily occurance in this country that people call out politiicians. You are not being considered the bad guy, the posters are merely explaining the facts ….just how much Stop and Shop did and how many years Carolyn Dykema has participated in the event including before she was a Rep.

Quite frankly, I don’t care who takes credit…..I am just thrilled and proud that so much was sent overseas to our troops from our community. I am just happy to give; credit or no credit. I am just happy that our troops know that we still support them and just want them home.

7 Dean Dairy October 16, 2012 at 11:27 AM

“Dean, on what basis do you make your assertion ,or more ac[c]urately i should say, do you base your attack[?]”

– As I said, “was it wrong to infer that Stop & Shop, who was now reaping positive PR from the QUIET generosity of their customers, would have watched the [donations S&S sold to their customers] rot on the loading dock rather than pay the freight? Sure sounds like AT&T had to come to the rescue.”

“You are not being considered the bad guy.”

–Sounds it. I’m asked to apologize. You accuse me of an “attack”. Mazekenneth says “you are sincerely misguided in your train of thought and need to re examine your morals and motives for donating to anything”.

“…the posters are merely explaining the facts ….just how much Stop and Shop did…”

–I thought that’s exactly what I was doing with respect to the wording contained in the original blog post when I pointed to the quote “Stop and Shop would be DONATING $47K worth of goods they collected in September…” Do you have any doubt someone at the S&S Corporate Communications Dept read that ambiguity and let it stand without a correction because it was good, free PR?

“…and how many years Carolyn Dykema has participated in the event including before she was a Rep.”

–Like a huge number of other people who weren’t in the photo and who are not politicians one month away from an election.

But I’ll make this bet with you: I predict Stop & Shop corporate will truly step up to the plate for next year’s drive.

8 Doriann Jasinski October 15, 2012 at 4:42 PM

It was clear, from the beginning, that Stop and Shop COLLECTED the donated items from their generous customers. They did not “pressure” anyone into donating, they asked them at the register if they would like to donate. Not only did Stop and Shop collect the items from 15 of their stores, they sorted, boxed and transported them to the drive at their expense. They also paid some of their employees to work at the drive all day, sorting and packaging boxes for the soldiers and they paid for the 100 plus volunteers to have lunch. They gave of themselves for the fine Men and Women serving this wonderful country of ours…what did you do?
Carolyn Dykema has been a volunteer at our drive for many years. She has always been there for “THE RIGHT REASONS”. She works hard just like the rest of us in trying to give back to those who serve this country. Carolyn NEVER uses the drive as a political campaign ground, in fact, she doesn’t even tell people who she is. Using this fine, hard- working State Representative as your political punching bag and questioning her good –will is not only inappropriate, it is insulting and shameful.
Our Care Package Drive is “America at it’s Best”, people helping people, joining together from all the surrounding communities to help bring a small piece of home to those who are so far away, fighting for all of us.

9 daddyo October 15, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Lisa very well said . I would like to offer a very sincere thank you for all you do as well.

10 Amy Metcalf October 16, 2012 at 1:19 AM

Dean Dairy,

Nowhere did you see Stop & Shop advertising their generosity. It was from the thankfulness of the event coordinators.

As a personal recipient of more than 20 boxes from Lisa Braccio and the other volunteers when I was in Baghdad, Iraq and Khowst, AF, I can say we have become close friends. Not only have I attended 2 of the 16 care package drives, but they have invited me into their home and treated me as if I am family. To say their intentions are NOT altruistic is completely opposite of the truth.

In the times I have visited, Carolyn came to the drives, personally packed boxes, and has personally shaken the hand of every Veteran at the drive. She has even personally offered her recommendation to me for my future jobs. There is nothing political about her actions in this drive.

Further, the article you are discussing, Stop & Shop did not contact them. Their generous donations from even more generous customers was not because of an attempt of PR. It was the organizers who wished they would receive a small “Thank You” for their giving.

I have known Lisa since 2006, and the entire care package drive is completely for the Soldiers, every single time. I have sat with her as she has cried because she couldn’t help everyone in need. Her local friends have seen the same. She was genuinely grateful for the contributions from the companies. This is the outlet that allowed her to show that. If there is anyone else on this planet who does not take credit for all they do, it is her. For you to degrade her and her contributions is disgusting and says enough about you and your company.

11 Dean Dairy October 16, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Amy, thank you for your service to the country.

As a Stop & Shop customer, I just think it’s a mistake to give as much credit to Stop & Shop given their level of effort. And notice that my criticism is being characterized as an attack on all the good work of all the volunteers and even the soldiers, which only reinforces my problem with the PR Catch-22 they’ve erected.

“Further, the article you are discussing, Stop & Shop did not contact them. Their generous donations from even more generous customers was not because of an attempt of PR.”

– In Lisa’s reply, she said:

“…I was thrilled and overjoyed when approached by Stop & Shop both last year and this year to extent our reach to their Customers in 15 stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut…”

Amy, I’m spanking a big company that’s gone about buying PR on the cheap. My hope is in the future they will step up to the plate. Because when they do ask me for a donation at the register (oftentimes while I’m bagging my own groceries because there’s no bagger on duty), I really do feel bad saying no. Yet S&S doesn’t. That bothers me. I would much rather say “yea, take a buck”. I have to summon a bit of courage in a check-out line to not to go along on principle, and I view that as “pressure”.

So, view me as the “bad cop” in the fund-raising effort, if you wish, “pressuring” Stop & Shop “at the point of sale” to step up in the future and thereby demonstrate their contribution is genuine and substantial enough to convince even a “disgusting” person like me to participate.

12 Mazekenneth October 16, 2012 at 1:30 AM

Dean clearly you misunderstood the point of the story. The point here is a wonderful woman gave her time and energy to help service members in a hostile warzone feel appreciated and in the process managed to get two major corporations to contribute funds, resources and employees to a greater cause. As a veteran myself I know the difference every little care package can make, whether it be something to make you feel cleaner or something to eat that isn’t an MRE. If you feel pressured to donate to anything you are sincerely misguided in your train of thought and need to re examine your morals and motives for donating to anything.

13 SB Resident October 16, 2012 at 10:32 AM

The point of the story is one thing, but pointing out the con’s of a good thing is NEVER wrong. Everything has ‘negative externalities’ and they should always be considered.

Any time our elected politicians advertise themselves at these kinds of things, it is political. If it wasn’t, she would volunteer without being in the picture. At the same time it isn’t wrong of her to do, but no one should be so naive to think that it is purely genuine. It’s a perk of being the incumbent.

As for Stop&Shop, they are a corporation, they have one goal and that is profits. They would never do this kind of thing if they didn’t think that it wasn’t in their best interest. I notice that all the products in the picture are S&S generics, hmmm.

On the flip side, I think its great that the other volunteers are willing to “take advantage” of S&S and Ms. Dykema’s time for such a great cause. These are cases where it is mostly a win/win, Dean is just pointing out that the one side of the win is what I’ll agree to be a little bit dirty.

As for feeling pressure to donate, it is considered common knowledge at this point through numerous studies that show the majority of people do feel pressure to give in exactly this kind of situation, it is not misguided, it is human nature. I think it is safe to say that it is far more misguided to think that asking people for money (exploiting our human nature) is not offensive.

14 Kerry Kendall October 16, 2012 at 10:35 AM

As a current recipient of these care package drive, I’m absolutely appalled by Dean Dairy’s commentary on this article. The donations collected by Stop and Shop from their customers is an amazing amount. It would only take a corporate business to accept and handle $47,000 worth of food and health products which are taken in at these troop drives.

Dairy also mentions how he refuses to participate in any charity from Stop and Shop. As a life long resident of Massachusetts, I know first hand that they are one of the few companies to support charities for autistic children, as well as hire handicapped adults. I suppose you refuse to also help those who cannot help themselves?

There is a saying that we love in the military, Dean. It is “if you refuse to stand up for the troops, feel free to stand in front of them”. Please, feel free to add your own assistance to these troop drives, or take Lisa’s place. If you also feel like coming overseas, I offer that challenge so you can see exactly what a care package can do to your morale.

15 Dean Dairy October 16, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Kerry, I thank you for your service.

“It would only take a corporate business to accept and handle $47,000 worth of food and health products which are taken in at these troop drives.”

–Actually, S&S is selling these donations to their customers.

“Dairy also mentions how he refuses to participate in any charity from Stop and Shop.”

–What I didn’t mention is that most of these cash register drives are done for cash (no sorting, shipping, etc.). And when I ask if S&S will match my cash donation, they say “no”. My point is that Stop & Shop itself REFUSES to participate in most of their own charity drives, but wants to collect and “Donate” my money in their name.

In sum, as a Stop & Shop customer, I’m calling them out in the hope that their deeds will match their PR.

And what could prove my point better than equating Stop & Shop with “standing up for the troops”?

16 Lisa Braccio October 16, 2012 at 1:17 PM

I refuse to let one person’s negativity take all of the joy out of the magic we all created last weekend and the thousands of smiles that receipts of these boxes will bring. I would ask at this point that no one respond further to Dean Dairy as his false assumptions were already addressed with the true facts that feel on deaf ears. At this point I thank everyone for your support and let’s go back to reflecting on all the good we have accomplished to date.

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