IAVA partners with JCP on 'Welcome Heroes'
J. C. Penney Company Inc and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation's first and largest non-profit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, are joining forces to provide America's newest generation of military veterans with more than $1 million in apparel and footwear to start new civilian wardrobes. With over two million servicemen and women who deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the "Welcome Heroes" campaign seeks to honor and support recent vets with the apparel needed to pursue new career opportunities or to enjoy the leisure activities missed most at home.
"Our military servicemembers spend years wearing a uniform and many do not get the opportunity to build a wardrobe that makes it possible for them to go to a job interview, attend a friend's wedding or simply enjoy a night out with their spouse," said Steve Lawrence, executive vice president and senior general merchandise manager for jcpenney. "Given all the sacrifices they make to serve our country, we're doing our part as a leading American retailer to outfit our nation's heroes with the head-to-toe looks needed to dress for any occasion with style."
To be eligible, military service members who served in Iraq or Afghanistan can go to therucksack.org from Oct. 20 through Nov. 20 to register for the jcpenney giveaway once they have confirmed their free membership with IAVA at iava.org. Following the registration period, over 6,000 qualified entries will be randomly selected to receive $200 in merchandise certificates toward the purchase of men's or women's apparel available at jcpenney.
As the retail destination for all Liz Claiborne and Claiborne branded merchandise as well as modern career wear options from Stafford, J. Ferrar, IZOD, JOE Joseph Abboud, Worthington, American Living and East 5th, veterans will be able to choose from a broad selection of suits, tailored clothing and casual sportswear.
"After taking off the uniform, one of the greatest challenges that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans face is transitioning to a civilian workforce that doesn't truly understand their experience. Thousands of veterans are coming home today to significantly higher rates of unemployment and underemployment than their civilian peers," said Paul Rieckhoff, founder and executive director of IAVA.
"Having the confidence to walk into an interview and articulate the value of their military experience is absolutely critical for navigating today's job market. IAVA is proud to partner with jcpenney on 'Welcome Heroes' so veterans of this new greatest generation have the resources needed to continue their leadership and service at home."
To showcase jcpenney's stylish assortment of professional and lifestyle attire, jcpenney featured real veterans to model for its "Matters of Style" mailer and captured behind-the-scenes footage from the photo shoot. Through video diaries posted on jcp's website and stories highlighted in the mailer, veterans share their deployment experiences by recalling some of the things they missed most from home and the importance of outfitting returning veterans with new clothes.