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HAPPY BIRTHDAY COMMISSARIES!

150TH anniversary marked by hot savings in July

Note: To see a series of videos on the agency's YouTube page related to the 150-year history of military commissaries, please click on the following links to "A Minute of History: 150th Anniversary Special:" Episode 1, episode 2, episode 3 and episode 4. To see photos related to this news release, visit our Flickr page.

FORT LEE, Va. (June 22, 2017) – Commissary shoppers worldwide will be a part of history July 1 as the Defense Commissary Agency observes the 150th anniversary of the benefit with special sales promotions, contests and giveaways.

"The 150th anniversary of commissaries is a historic milestone for the military and stands as a living legacy of service to the most important patrons in the world – our service members and their families," said DeCA Sales Director Tracie Russ. "Along with our industry partners, we are proud to continue delivering the significant savings this benefit is built on."

The 150th anniversary observance ties back to the official beginning of the modern commissary benefit on July 1, 1867. It was on that date, two years following the Civil War, that enlisted men received the same privileges available to officers since 1825 – the right to purchase goods, "at cost price," from their post's subsistence department warehouses. These sales could take place at any post in the United States or its territories, wherever the local commander deemed them necessary, regardless of location.

As DeCA lights the candles on its 150th anniversary cake, the agency's industry partners – vendors, suppliers and brokers – are collaborating with commissaries to offer discounts beyond everyday savings. Always check what's on the "end of the aisle" for themed items with extra low pricing. Overseas stores may have substitute events for certain promotional programs.

Customers should check with their local commissary for details on dates and times for the following sales events:

  • Your Commissary is Celebrating 150 Years! On July 1, commissaries worldwide will celebrate the 150th anniversary with cake and balloons. Industry partners will hand out free giveaways such as commissary gift cards to t-shirts, hats, goody bags and high-value coupons. There will also be (in most stores) demonstrations and samplings of top brand products. Look for the gold décor and the details of this special event.
  • Free historic reusable bags. Coca-Cola is offering free historic WW II reusable bags with the purchase of any two Coca-Cola products when purchased in conjunction with the Commissary Rewards Card. Promotion begins July 1 until quantities run out.
  • The Del Monte Pallet Promotion Sale will donate up to $50,000 to the Folds of Honor Foundation, which supports spouses and children of American military service members who died in uniform. Throughout July, in commissaries worldwide, the sale will offer special coupons and gift card giveaways.
  • Kellogg's "Despicable Me 3" movie launch promotion! To celebrate the commissaries' 150th anniversary and the Despicable Me 3 movie, this worldwide promotion with product demonstrations and high-value coupons will run from June 19 to July 16 with chances to win $150 in commissary gift cards. Look for participating name brands and mass displays promoting Cheez-It Crackers, Club Crackers, Keebler Chips Deluxe cookies, Pringles and Eggo waffles.
  • The Patriot Perks Program says "thank you" to the families of our military members and their families by rewarding them for shopping at their commissary. July 1 - 16, in recognition of the commissaries' 150th anniversary, patrons could win commissary shopping sprees with a grand prize of a year of free groceries at your commissary. This program will feature product displays with Patriot Perks signage in all commissaries worldwide. Visit the Patriot Perks website or look for displays in your local commissary to enter.
  • Procter & Gamble and Smucker's thanks commissaries for 150 years of service by offering a "Summer Celebration BBQ" for winning military installations. Grand prize winners will receive a family barbecue for the entire military community. Everything offered at this event is complimentary to all military families. Each barbecue will have a celebrity chef host, entertainment, catered food and drinks, games and prizes. A Smucker's "Ice Cream Social" booth will offer the opportunity to build your own sundae. There will also be booths set up to educate patrons on the benefits of the commissary, how to sign up for a commissary rewards card, and more. Additionally, there will be samples, coupons and recipe cards from some of the name brand products at the event. Check your commissary for program details July 17–30. This program is offered stateside only.
  • Eckrich and Nathan's Ambassadors are traveling to participating commissaries stateside to hand out free samples of Eckrich Smoked Sausage, Nathan's Beef Franks, high-value coupons and more. Patrons can enter for a chance to win commissary gift cards. During July, the ambassadors will travel to following locations in Virginia: Fort Belvoir, Fort Myer, Bolling Commissary at Joint Base Andrews-Bolling, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Langley Air Force Base, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Naval Station Norfolk, and Norfolk Naval Shipyard's Scott Annex. Check times and dates at these locations.
  • Kraft Heinz "Feed Your Family, Feed the World" Summer Grilling Promotion. July 17-30, Kraft Heinz Company will be donating up to 20,000 meals a day to "Rise Against Hunger" during this promotion. There will also be $5 or $3 coupon deals on the following brands: Heinz ketchup, mustard, and barbecue sauce; Kraft Natural cheese, Kraft singles, Kraft salad dressings, Mayo and barbecue sauce; Oscar Mayer bacon, hot dogs, and cold cuts; and Country Time/Kool-Aid powdered soft drinks. This is a stateside promotion only.
  • Sixth Annual Gold Bond Summer Savings Event. From July 3 to 16, this stateside promotion encourages customers to "play ball" to become eligible to win free Gold Bond products. After making a free throw, customers are encouraged to take a selfie with the basketball and email their pictures to ShaqContest@GoldBond.com for a chance to win. The winner will receive a years' supply of Gold Bond products and a prize pack. See your local commissary for details.

"As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of commissaries, we also want our patrons to remember to use their benefit as they prepare to enjoy their outdoor cookouts," Russ said. "Commissaries are featuring great savings on fresh produce and meats. Look for specials on all melons, corn on the cob, cherries, and ripe tomatoes.

"Our prices are also the best in town on fresh beef," she added. "Your commissary is your destination for steaks and ground beef. Can't find what you want? Ask your meat manager to cut it for you."

Patrons can also access the DeCA website for the following features: 1) the Commissary Rewards Card, which allows patrons to redeem coupons electronically at the commissary checkout. Patrons can pick up a card at their local commissary and register it, where they can log into their account to load coupons on the card before they shop; and 2) DeCA's new Nutrition Guide Program; to learn more about the color-coded shelf labels that point out items with key nutrient attributes such as low sodium, whole grain, no sugar added, low fat and good source of fiber.

About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit and make no profit on the sale of merchandise. Authorized patrons save thousands of dollars annually on their purchases compared to commercial prices when shopping regularly at a commissary. The discounted prices include a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America's military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.

Media Contact:
Kevin L. Robinson
(804) 734-8000, Ext. 4-8773
kevin.robinson@deca.mil

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