Record-Breaking Generosity for the Kids

Giving Back

During the 2022 Children’s Miracle Network Hospital fundraising campaign, this store raised more money than any other. We had to find out their secret!

Editor's Note: Another record-setting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals campaign wrapped up on July 14, 2023. Thanks to the generosity and dedication of associates, customers and members, Walmart and Sam’s Club were able to raise over $41 million in support of more than 170 Children’s Miracle Network hospitals across the country. 

Walmart and Sam’s Club have been supporting the Children’s Miracle Network for more than 35 years. But there’s one store in particular that we wanted to check in on at the start of this year’s campaign: Store 2473 in Hilo, Hawaii.

The store’s associates and customers have helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for “keiki” (Hawaiian for kids) over the years. In 2022 they set an exciting record: Associates and customers raised $127,000 — breaking the record for highest store fundraising for the CMN campaign in history! Nora Garlarse (pictured above) was the store’s top fundraiser, bringing in over $4,000!

So what’s the secret to Store 2473’s fundraising success?

More heart: Store manager Mark Roberts points to customers, who he describes as extraordinarily generous. “We had a lot of customers who gave over and over and over again,” Mark explains. “We always say we're here for the keiki, we’ll do anything for the keiki. That's the heart of our community.”

More smiles: Nora credits her smile with getting customers to donate. “I smile, and I convince customers and then they're willing to give!”

More fun: Wendel Dait, front-end coach, attributes the store’s fundraising success to a few factors. A big one is the great attitude of the associates. My team, they put the fun in the fundraising,” says Wendel (pictured above with Mark). “When I see all my cashiers, they're all happy and that makes everyone happy. That's our secret.”

More cowbell: Every time a customer makes a donation to the CMN campaign, the register associate rings a cowbell and every associate on the front-end shouts “mahalo,” a Hawaiian expression of gratitude. The celebration at the register does more than just thank the customer. It often prompts other customers to ask what all the fuss is about and to then also donate.

More (friendly) competition: The associate sitting in the No. 1 fundraising spot gets to wear a crown for the day — Wendel says competition for the crown is friendly but fierce!

Giving that hits home

Another factor in the store’s fundraising success is the community’s connection to Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children. The not-for-profit medical center relies on community support to provide lifesaving pediatric care to local families, regardless of their ability to pay.

Last year, Wendel placed incubators like the ones that shelter babies at the hospital at the store’s entrances. In addition to giving at the register, customers can drop donations into the incubators. Wendel says customers who donate often share stories about children or grandchildren who needed care from the facility.

Associates also keep pictures of the medical equipment they’re fundraising for at their registers, and they can explain exactly where the money will be going.

Raising the bar

In 2022, the CMN campaign at all of Hawaii’s Walmart stores raised money to buy Kapi’olani laser surgery equipment. This year, stores are raising money to buy the hospital a retina camera, estimated to cost about $150,000. Any additional funds over the $150,000 needed for the camera will go toward the hospital's cancer care programs.

After last year’s fundraising success, the team at Store 2473 is ready for the challenge!

Mark says the 2023 campaign is off to a great start. In the first week of the campaign, Store 2473 raised $34,000! The store’s customers and associates are going all out for the keiki.