What is life like growing up in a military family? Children of military personnel answer this question in an essay challenge

Sears Operation Wish invites Canadians to salute our troops and their families

QUÉBEC CITY, Dec. 15, 2013 /CNW/ - Sabryna Malette, Sarah-Kim Boucher and Alexandre Girard won the essay challenge launched by the Valcartier Military Family Resource Centre, in collaboration with the Sears Operation Wish program. Children of military personnel attending Valcartier based schools Alexander Wolff, Dollard-des-Ormeaux and Roger-Comtois (Loretteville) were asked to write about growing up in a military family. Canadian military personnel and their families live and work in communities across the country, and the soldiers face unique challenges raising a family while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces.

This essay contest marks the 8th annual Sears Operation Wish program, which was launched today in partnership with the Valcartier Military Family Resource Centre, the Canadian Association of Military Family Resource Centres (MFRC) and the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS).  Operation Wish, which began in 2006 when Canadian Forces personnel stationed overseas were given Sears Wish Books to purchase Christmas gifts for their families back home, is a national celebration of military personnel and their families.

"Through our association with the Valcartier Military Family Resource Centre, we have learned what a relief it can be to know that someone is helping to take care of your family and looking out for their well-being," said Jean-François Tremblay, General Manager, Sears Laurier Quebec.  "We are very proud to provide a vehicle, through Operation Wish, to help Quebec residents show their support for our military and their families based in Valcartier. While the program looks a bit different each year, the goal is always the same - to build a bridge between the local military base and the community by providing a way we, as a community, can show our support for our military friends and neighbours."

Operation Wish events were held today in communities near military bases across the country where Sears announced an initiative in support of children of active military personnel.  Sears is making a $10,000 donation to the newly formed Canadian Association of Military Family Resource Centres (MFRCs).  Since Operation Wish's inception in 2006, Sears has donated over $100,000 to national military family support programs.

Sears also introduced an additional fundraising initiative to support the important work done by every MFRC across Canada.  Each year, Sears sells a special, limited edition plush with $2 from the sale of each plush toy directed to Sears Canada Charitable Foundation youth development programs.  A percentage of money from sales of Nate, the 2013 plush bear, will be donated to the Canadian Association of MFRCs for their youth programs and a percentage will be given to the Valcartier Family Centre.

Quebec residents were also invited to the Sear Laurier Quebec store to send well-wishes to the military by signing a life-size cutout of the Nate bear.  The cutout, once filled with signatures, will be sent to the Valcartier Family Centre as a symbol of the community's support.

"Being in the military, or part of a military family, is not always easy," said Marie-Claude Michaud, spokesperson for the Valcartier Family Centre. "It's not uncommon for military families in our community to still have a loved one deployed far away from home over the Holiday season. Military families are also often called upon to move a lot - creating challenges to form new bonds in new communities. Support of the community, like signing this huge Sears bear cutout, means a great deal to military personnel and their families."

Marie-Claude Michaud added that financial support from the sale of Nate the bear is also very much appreciated to run important support programs for military members and their families like Together to better understandSunday, December 15, 2013 is also Military Family Shopping Day at Sears Canada, in which active Canadian military personnel, their families and veterans receive 15% off most in-store purchases at Sears department stores, Sears Home stores and Sears Hometown stores.

About Sears Canada

Sears Canada is a multi-channel retailer with a network that includes 181 corporate stores, 241 Hometown stores, over 1,400 catalogue and online merchandise pick-up locations, 101 Sears Travel offices and a nationwide repair and service network.  The company also publishes Canada's most extensive general merchandise catalogue and offers shopping online at www.sears.ca

SOURCE: Sears Canada Inc.

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418.563-3355 (Cel.)

Alicia Richler

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Sears Canada Inc.

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