Whether it be hoola-hooping down the aisles of Wal-Mart or selling burritos, associates of New Mexico Sam's Clubs and Wal-Mart Stores have worked tirelessly to raise more than $131,000 for Children's Hospital of New Mexico this year.

Donated money helps pay for the life-saving medical equipment needed to provide the most advanced and comprehensive pediatric and neonatal care in the state.

Both Wal-Mart and Sam's Clubs are sponsors of the Children's Miracle Network, an international non-profit organization dedicated to helping children by raising funds and awareness for diseases, injuries and birth defects. CHNM Hospital is one of 170 CMN Hospitals.

Mary Sexton, community involvement coordinator at Wal-Mart-Eubank comes up with ideas that will put money in the CHNM kitty, and so far this year, that store has raised over $12,000.

Ideas can range from casserole auctions at their morning meetings to employees wearing crazy hats and encouraging customers to drop money in a jar. Once they've met their goal for the day, they can take off the hat. They've even gone as far as wrapping people in shrink wrap and dressing male managers in grass hula skirts.

"They love doing it for the children," Sexton said. "You'd be amazed how enthusiastic associates are and want to know what the next event will be."

One door down at Sam's Club-Eubank, a group of seven women who call themselves the Spirit Committee, roll up their sleeves and start cooking, just after their shift ends. They're scrambling nearly 15 dozen eggs and frying bacon, sausage and potatoes for breakfast burritos that they sell to Sam's associates every Friday morning. Burrito sales net about $300 every week.

"We do all this work on our own time, all in the name of Children's Hospital because we truly care about the kids," said Dena Becker, Sam's Club business manager. "We have the resources to make good things happen."
Contact: HSC Public Affairs, 272-3322