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Checkers®/Rally’s® and Operation Gratitude Send More Than 40,000 Care Packages to

posted on Jul 11 2006 0 Comments

U.S. Troops Deployed Overseas

Care packages arrived around the world in time for July 4th

 TAMPA, FL – July 11, 2006 –Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., the nation’s largest chain of double drive-thru restaurants, has helped to send more than 40,000 care packages to U.S. Troops deployed overseas through Operation Gratitude’s Patriotic Drive. Throughout Military Appreciation Month, May 2006, the double drive-thru chain collected items from guests and also raised awareness of Operation Gratitude’s and America Supports You’s missions through at-restaurant signage, custom public service announcements and special events.


“I’d like to thank our guests, our franchisees and our employees for their tremendous support of our troops and the Patriotic Drive program,” said Keith E. Sirois, President and CEO of Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. “In recent weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the service members who received Operation Gratitude’s care packages during their deployment, and they have described these messages of support from home as being vital to lifting their morale. I am proud that Checkers®/Rally’s® was able to help Operation Gratitude and America Supports You raise awareness of and participation in their cause.”


Through the placement of collection bins and signage at the majority of its more than 800 restaurants nationwide, Checkers/Rally’s collected nearly 200 large boxes of donated gifts weighing a total of more than 4,000 lbs. to send to U.S. Troops. Checkers/Rally’s sent the collected items to Operation Gratitude to include in their care packages, which were delivered to troops deployed overseas in time for the Fourth of July. Checkers also donated $10,000 to Operation Gratitude to help pay for shipping on the care packages.


“Checkers/Rally’s participation in the Patriotic Drive helped us fulfill our two-fold mission: first, to put smiles on service members’ faces by sending care packages to troops deployed overseas, and second, to give citizens an opportunity to easily show their support for our men and women in uniform,” said Carolyn Blashek, Founder of Operation Gratitude. “Checkers/Rally’s guests generously donated a variety of items, from CDs and DVDs to battery operated fans to beef jerky and other snacks. Moreover, they wrote heartfelt letters of support to our troops. Their donations meant the world to our troops this Fourth of July, and I can’t thank the Checkers/Rally’s company and franchised teams enough for making it happen.”


In addition to guest donations, several other businesses joined the Patriotic Drive after learning about the program through the publicity that Checkers/Rally’s generated. These donations included: Hershey’s® – 20,000 Jolly Rancher hard candies and 100 T-shirts; Masterfoods® USA – 10,000 sample size Starbursts® candies; Tide® – 50,000 Tide Coldwater product samples; Pure Records – 2,500 CDs; RC2 – 2,000 Ford and Chevy Racing hats; and H & H Foods, Inc. – 1,272 packaged food items. 


Moreover, DHL worked with Checkers/Rally’s as the Official Shipping Partner for the Company’s Patriotic Drive efforts.


“Nothing boosts the morale of our troops serving overseas more than receiving care packages from home,” said Allison Barber, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.  “Checkers/ Rally’s partnership with Operation Gratitude’s Patriotic Drive two America Supports You team members shows our military men and women just how much citizens across the country support the service they perform around the world. This initiative is a shining example of the mission of America Supports You to connect our military men and women and their families to programs of support.” 


While Checkers/Rally’s collected items at its restaurants, the Company also leveraged its position as the Official Burger of NASCAR® and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to host dozens of returning troops at the Richmond 400® and the Indianapolis 500®. At these races, troops received exclusive pit tours, full hospitality and tickets to the races, and had the opportunity to participate in the pre-race ceremonies.


Checkers/Rally’s collections for the Patriotic Drive ran from May 8th to June 14th, 2006.  Collection bins for gift donations were located at participating Checkers/Rally’s restaurants nationwide.  DHL, the Official Shipping Partner of the Patriotic Drive, handled delivery of the care package donations to Operation Gratitude. 


About Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc.

Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. (http://www.checkers.com) is the largest double drive-thru restaurant chain in the United States. The Company develops, owns, operates and franchises quick-service Checkers and Rally’s double drive-thru restaurants. In 2005, Checkers/Rally’s was awarded two of the industry’s most coveted recognitions: Best Drive-Thru in America 2005 in the QSR Drive-Thru Study for Rally’s, and Nation’s Restaurant News Hot! Again Award for Checkers’ sizzling business performance. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR.


About Operation Gratitude

Operation Gratitude is a nonprofit, all volunteer organization that sends care packages to U.S. Military Troops deployed overseas. Our mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member’s face and express the appreciation of the American people for the sacrifices of the men and women defending our freedom. Our packages include snacks, toiletries, entertainment items, and letters of support from caring students and adults. 100% of donated funds are used to pay for communications and shipment of the packages. 


For more information about Operation Gratitude, contact Carolyn Blashek at (818) 789-0123 or visit www.operationgratitude.com. 


About America Supports You

Since the launch of the America Supports You program in November 2004, more than one million Americans, including citizens, businesses and organizations have logged onto www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil to register the activities and projects in their communities that show their support for America’s Armed Forces, especially those serving in harm’s way. 


For more information about America Supports You, contact Michelle Shortencarrier at (202) 414-0791 or visit www.americasupportsyou.mil. 



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