Wednesday, November 13 was World Kindness Day. We received the news that we'd be able to celebrate someone else's act of kindness in a big way on Thursday, November 14.

Walmart surprised a local associate with the news that her recent act of kindness won the Walmart Associate Challenge. As a result, her selected nonprofit, Papa’s Pet Project, received a $10,000 grant from Walmart. The Walmart-wide challenge asked associates to share how they are sparking kindness in their communities using #SparkKindness and #WalmartAssociateChallenge. The company received more than 400 stories. Wareham associate, Sophia Kelly, is one of only 12 winners across the country.

Kelly has worked at the Wareham Walmart store for eight years, most recently as a claims supervisor. She is a huge animal lover and spends her spare time volunteering at animal shelters. Papa’s Pet Project is a non-profit, all-volunteer animal rescue organization that was founded in 2009 for the purpose of helping to improve the lives of homeless animals in the community.

Kelly knew she was one of 25 finalists in the contest, but believed she was coming to the front of the store to make a video of her final pitch to Walmart.org in the hopes of receiving a grant in the coming weeks. However, Wareham Walmart Store Manager Paul Jandrow handed her a letter that revealed that she had already won. Kathy Ieada is a representative from Papa’s Pet Project and was able to join Kelly for the news earlier today. Ieada was 

“The Walmart program is so amazing. It gives people the opportunity to work, pay their bills, and still follow their passion.” - Kathy Ieada

Kelly has been working with Papa's Pet Project for about a year and a half now, and Ieada cannot thank her enough for all of her efforts, including handling the nonprofit's social media accounts. Coworkers were beaming with pride and all jumped in for a group hug to congratulate her on the win.

Walmart Associate Challenge 2019