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By Toni DeRosa
Wasco Tribune 

Walmart big on giving back

 

Toni DeRosa | Wasco Tribune

Walmart People Lead Veronica Bristow.

Walmart employees volunteer time to assist businesses, schools and nonprofit organizations at four different causes determined by each Walmart.

People Lead Veronica Bristow often gets to hand-deliver checks to nonprofit groups. As head of human resources for the store, Bristow is a familiar face whenever Walmart gives back to local groups, businesses and schools. For example, the store's last public donations went to Hoyett's Sandwich Shop, the VFW and Teresa Burke Elementary School just before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Bristow is originally from Albuquerque, N.M., and lived in Brooklyn, N.Y., until she was 8 years old. Her family made its way to Delano, where Bristow attended Delano High until she ran away to Bakersfield at 16. She later received her high school diploma and took college business classes online.

"I had my first daughter at 18, then worked several jobs until I was hired by Walmart at 19 as an overnight cashier," Bristow said. Bristow explained that for her, the best thing about working for Walmart is the job security and benefits. "I have been able to provide for my family and have never had to worry about my next check."

She said the benefits provide her with peace of mind knowing that her daughters have healthcare insurance whenever needed. "I have had medical coverage through Walmart since my oldest daughter was two years old – even when I still qualified for welfare benefits," she said. "I had an emergency situation with my oldest daughter when she was a baby and because I only had state medical coverage, I had to wait for a doctor for a long time. I swore that day that I was going to get off welfare and get my own insurance. Walmart was able to do that for me."

Bristow described Walmart's Volunteerism Always Pays program, where each store picks four nonprofit organizations from the community. Associates can volunteer their time to help in any events that those organizations have during the year. "Then, at the end of the year, we tally the hours each associate volunteered and submit that to our home office to get a grant for the hours submitted," she said. "The more hours we submit, the bigger the grant."

According to Bristow, the Wasco store did not have any VAP events when she arrived about two years ago.

"So, I involved some associates in picking some nonprofit organizations and started volunteering in the community," Bristow said. "For me, it is important that we give back to the community. I also work with Cole Vocational Services and Valley Achievement Center, which are organizations that help disabled people find employment. I believe that all individuals have value and should not be discriminated against because of any disability. I have seen many individuals that have been deemed disabled accomplish things I never thought could be done.

"I am proud to work for a company that encourages, enforces and supports an inclusive and diverse workforce."

She added that in five years she sees herself continuing to work at Walmart and is hopeful that by then she will have finished college and obtained her bachelor's degree.

 

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