ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In celebration of National Military Family Appreciation month, Olive Garden is saluting military families throughout November by offering special restaurant discounts and partnering with the USO (United Service Organizations) to support United Through Reading's Military Program to help military families maintain close bonds during deployment.
Olive Garden recognizes the tremendous sacrifices that troops and their families make to protect and serve our country, which is why the restaurant is honoring military families during November by:
"Military families are selfless and never seek reward for the sacrifices they make," said Jay Spenchian, Olive Garden's executive vice president of marketing. "When a soldier serves our country, his or her family serves as well. During Military Family Appreciation month, Olive Garden extends our heartfelt thanks to all service men and women and their families for their strength and commitment, and we're honored to partner with the USO to help military families stay close when deployed parents are away."
USO & United Through Reading's Military Family Program Partnership
Keeping families connected when a military parent is deployed can be immensely challenging. Through a partnership with the USO, Olive Garden will help create special family moments of togetherness by donating storybooks for deployed parents to read aloud, video-record and then send the book and DVD to their children at home. For every person who shares Olive Garden's Facebook post about United Through Reading's Military Program during November, Olive Garden will donate one book—up to 15,000 books valued at $100,000—to the USO to support the program.
"Deployment can be especially difficult for military moms and dads, but it can be even tougher for their children. They don't understand why mommy or daddy isn't there for some of those special moments, like reading them their favorite bedtime story," said Kelli Seely, USO senior vice president of development and chief development officer. "This program allows military children to see their parent's face not just at bedtime, but whenever they want and provides comfort to deployed parents, knowing they are still able to put a smile on their child's face even while far from home."
To learn more and to help Olive Garden donate a book to military families visit Facebook.com/OliveGarden.
ABOUT OLIVE GARDEN
Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 800 restaurants, more than 96,000 employees and more than $3.6 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest full-service restaurant operating company. In 2013, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the third year in a row and is the only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list. Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, all Olive Garden restaurants participate in the Darden Harvest program, which has donated more than 60 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country. For more information, visit www.olivegarden.com. Connect with us at Facebook.com/OliveGarden, Twitter.com/OliveGarden and Instagram.com/OfficialOliveGarden.
ABOUT THE USO
The USO lifts the spirits of America's troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. The USO provides a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases in the U.S. and abroad, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. The USO also provides critical support to those who need us most, including forward-deployed troops, military families, wounded warriors and families of the fallen. The USO is a private, non-profit organization, not a government agency. The USO programs and services are made possible by the American people, support of corporate partners and the dedication of volunteers and staff.
ABOUT UNITED THROUGH READING
United Through Reading®, a California-based nonprofit organization, has served more than 1 million beneficiaries since 1990. Through the organization's partnership with the USO, troops visiting a USO center around the world read one of many available storybooks while being recorded by a video camera. The USO mails the DVD recording and book home, and children then watch and listen to Mom or Dad at bedtime, naptime or anytime. Families back home then complete the United Through Reading® Circle of Communication by sending back a touch of home – a photo of the child watching their deployed Mom or Dad reading the book. Since partnering with the USO in 2006, more than 100,000 books have been recorded by soldiers at USO centers worldwide and shared with their families back home.
SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: General