Your Commissary is part of the military community, as it has been since the modern commissary benefit began in 1867! This comes naturally to us as a quality-of-life military benefit, and we are proud of this role.
But our support of the military community extends beyond simply selling groceries at a significant savings in a safe and secure shopping environment. We also work hand-in-hand with our partners – including our industry partners, such as our vendors, and our military resale partners, the exchange services – to actively participate in the military community and give back.
As the Agency’s Consumer Advocate, I recently took part in a couple of these community events here in Virginia on Fort Lee, where the Defense Commissary Agency’s headquarters is located. When I learned about these events, I jumped at the opportunity to witness some of this community support in action and spend some time with our customers in person, and I am so glad that I did!
So now, I’d like to share a little bit about each event held on October 27: Military Patron Appreciation Day and the “We Care” care packages event.
Military Patron Appreciation Day
Military Patron Appreciation Day was held just outside the Fort Lee Commissary in concert with our industry partner, EURPAC. The event was originally going to be held in the commissary parking lot, but unfortunately, cold weather and drizzling rain forced the cancellation of the Halloween “Trunk or Treat” that was going to be part of the event.
But the good news is that we didn’t let this change of plans rain on our parade! The rest of the event was moved to the covered sidewalk next to the commissary entrance, and the bounce house and dunk tank were still set up behind the sidewalk. Commissary specials were on display and vendors set up tables on the sidewalk, where customers could spin wheels to win giveaways and enjoy free food.
But the best part of the event for me was meeting the soldiers and military families who came out to enjoy the event! Kids – including many wearing their hauntingly adorable Halloween costumes – jumped in the bounce house, played games like tug-of-war, had their faces painted and grabbed candy! Adults watched over the kids, while eating food, talking and laughing. A Fort Lee fire truck pulled up, and firemen came out to fill the dunk tank with a fire hose. It was truly beautiful to watch the military community come together at the commissary.
The Defense Commissary Agency and the exchange services have increasingly looked for partnership opporunities, such as jointly offering the “We Care” care package event at commissaries and exchanges on select installations, including Fort Lee. Military families were invited to sign up for their kids to color pictures and assemble care packages for deployed loved ones overseas.
Once the kids colored their masterpieces at the exchange, the parents were asked for the address of a deployed loved one, and exchange personnel issued them a $20 exchange gift card and $10 commissary gift card for the care package.
Families shopped for the care packages together, with the help of a shopping list that suggested suitable items for care packages sold at commissaries and exchanges. Once they completed their shopping, they brought back the goods to pack their care package for the deployed service member.
This was touching, because it simultaneously taught the kids a valuable lesson about supporting our deployed military and provided that support for those overseas.
Your Commissary – Your Military Community
I am so glad that I had the opportunity to participate in these events and meet some of you! Have you ever participated in events like these? What other ways have you witnessed Your Commissary supporting the military community?
We want Your Commissary to be the place where you gather all of the ingredients you need to help you make memories during the holidays and throughout the year, so please share your thoughts in the comments below!