Having Heart

Giving Back

Texas Sam’s Club recognized for its support of people in need. 

Arnold Gomez is the club manager at Sam’s Club 6269 in Harlingen, Texas. He’s spent 34 years in retail and in that time, Arnold has been recognized for a variety of sales and business achievements. But, he says, nothing compares to his club winning the 2022 Helen R. Walton Excellence in Community Leadership Award, which honors a club that goes above and beyond in supporting its community. 

Arnold considers the win a highlight of his career. 

“The Helen R. Walton award really embodies the compassion and the humanity of the business,” Arnold says. “My team was just elated at the fact that we were recognized for having heart, for having compassion for people. It was just awesome.”

Giving back in all the ways

Arnold, who has been with Sam’s Club for 10 years and at Club 6269 for six, says Harlingen is a small community in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Four of five of Texas’ poorest communities are in the area, so there’s a great deal of need in the region.

Despite the area’s poverty, the club was the state’s top fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network last year and the number two fundraiser the year before. 

Mostly, though, the club just tries to be there when the community needs help. “Whenever there's a tragedy, an unexpected event, a family that needs help, somebody's house burns down, or a business burns down, we're always there,” Arnold says. “When the homeless shelter called us and said, ‘We need a washer and dryer. Can you help us out?’ we were there to support that.”

In 2021 and 2022, the club invited 10 families to a holiday breakfast at the Sam’s Club Café. They bought the families Christmas gifts and provided all the ingredients they’d need for their holiday dinners. The club has also partnered with human resource agencies, faith-based organizations, a homeless shelter and an emergency shelter for children.

“I think these are the types of things that we have become known for — people giving back to the community, giving of themselves,” Arnold says. 

Where there’s Hope, there’s a way

Hope Betancourt is instrumental in the club’s community efforts, according to Arnold. As the member service lead, Hope helps with sign-ups, ordering t-shirts and whatever else might be needed. She was also the driving force behind the Children’s Miracle Network fundraising. 

Her very appropriate name is not lost on Arnold. “I think she gives people hope just because of her humanity, her compassion and her willingness to help others,” he says.

The club doesn’t just look out for its community. It also takes care of its associates. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Arnold personally delivered care packages to every associate who went out sick with the virus, and the club made sure their needs were met if they couldn’t get out of the house. 

Recently, the club added a quiet room featuring dim lighting, comfy seating and a white noise machine. “It's all about the well-being of our associates,” Arnold explains. Outside the quiet room door, associates can find QR codes to scan and learn more about benefits. 

What he wants to be known for

Arnold believes the company’s balance of compassion and business makes it “the best company in the world.”

“The Helen R. Walton award really shines a light on what we want to be known for other than running a successful business,” he says. 

“A lot of people are running successful businesses and retail operations. But to say that you are doing it while at the same time helping the community and having that compassion and generosity, I think speaks volumes. And I hope that this will inspire people to do more of that. Because I just don't think there's enough of that in the world going around right now.”