'What would Jesus have done?': Tucson charity declines Wal-Mart donation
CREATED Nov. 23, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
SOUTH TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - A South Tucson charity says "no thank you" to Wal-Mart's offer of a donation because of objections to the retailer's practices.
Casa Maria Catholic Worker Community -- which serves free meals daily -- told KGUN9 News that Wal-Mart offered several organizations in its area thousands of dollars in donations. That was because the retail giant recently opened a new store in the neighborhood, near I-10 and Park Avenue.
Casa Maria coordinator Brian Flagg said Wal-Mart listed his south side organization as a recipient of a $2,000 grant even though it never agreed to take the check. The organization’s board of six ultimately decided not to, according to Flagg.
“We, as a community, thought long and hard about it,” he told KGUN9. “As Catholics and Christians, we thought that we couldn't just take the money because we feel that we need to make a statement that we feel Wal-Mart doesn't pay good wages, that they are anti-union and that they have a detrimental effect on the survival of small businesses and areas where they locate those big, huge stores.”
KGUN9 reporter Kevin Keen asked Flagg, “Was it a hard decision?” “Yeah, $2,000 is $2,000. We exist entirely on private donations. Yes, it was hard to do, but what would Jesus have done?”
Flagg said the organization’s annual budget is more than $200,000.
Wal-Mart did not respond to KGUN9’s request for comment Friday.
Update: A firm representing Wal-Mart sent KGUN9 this statement Monday afternoon:
“Walmart has a long history of supporting Tucson non-profits. Since 2009, Walmart has donated more than $345,000 to local Tucson organizations that are supporting the community’s needs, including Catholic Community Services/Pio Decimo Center, The Community Food Bank, and the Salvation Army of Tucson. Additionally, Walmart raised $410,000 in 2012 for Tucson Medical Center/Children’s Miracle Network. We have a great group of associates serving our customers Tucson customers and some of the best jobs in retail. Our pay and benefits typically meet or exceed what’s offered by the majority of our competitors; we promote from within, our turnover rate is below the industry average and our associates satisfaction scores have trended higher over the past few years.”