Outback Steakhouse concluded its 2011 Thanks for Giving program today with a presentation of a $1 million donation to Operation Homefront, a nonprofit organization providing emergency financial and other assistance to military families and wounded warriors. The check was presented by Outback Steakhouse President Jeff Smith to Jim Knotts, President and CEO, and Amy Palmer, COO of Operation Homefront.
Today’s event began with the Presentation of the Colors by the Maryland National Guard, in the front of the Outback Steakhouse located in Ellicott City, Maryland. Major General James A. Adkins attended the program.
The second annual Thanks for Giving program was launched earlier this year when diners were invited to assist Outback in its efforts to support the troops by ordering from a special Red, White and Bloomin’ menu. The program was kicked off in San Antonio at the Texas National Guard Armory where Outbackers prepared a plated lunch for 300 service members. Country music star Tim McGraw who is a longtime supporter of the troops was on hand to express his appreciation. Together with Smith, they met with four of the families who received assistance as a direct result of Operation Homefront’s ongoing support. They also visited Operation Homefront Village San Antonio – one of the organization’s four transitional housing locations for wounded warrior families.
“The sacrifices that our troops and their families make so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have in the United States is something Outback employees have recognized and appreciated since we opened our doors 23 years ago,” said Smith. “As we express our sincere appreciation to those serving our country, we would also like to thank the countless Americans who rallied behind our Thanks for Giving program.”
Today’s donation to Operation Homefront is the most recent in a long history of Outback’s support of U.S. troops. In June 2002, Outback launched Operation Feeding Freedom, sending a team of 15 Outbackers to Afghanistan to feed American troops stationed there. Since that trip, more than 150 have made another seven trips, serving troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Djibouti, Kuwait, Bahrain, Turkey, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and aboard the USS Nimitz in the Persian Gulf. Overall, 167,000 troops have been served at numerous bases, forward operating bases and command and control locations.
“Our service members, wounded warriors and their families need support now more than ever,” Knotts said. “Outback’s generous donation will help these dedicated heroes know that while they are protecting us, someone back home is looking out for them and their families.”
For more information about Outback Steakhouse and its commitments to the troops, please visit www.outback.com.