ARCHDALE, N.C., Dec. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The clanking, thumping sounds of cans being loaded onto tractor-trailers today may not sound like Bing Crosby's rendition of "White Christmas," but for thousands of Triad residents it's music to their ears. Each year, area businesses team up to restock the Salvation Army's local food pantry through the Triad Holiday Challenge and the Sealy/FOX8 Holiday Concerts. The fifth annual Triad Holiday Challenge, led by Sealy (NYSE: ZZ), FOX8 and Old Dominion Freight Line, wrapped up earlier this week, breaking several of the event's previous records. This year, twenty-eight companies accepted the Challenge and more than 289,000 items were donated, both new records. "More than 15,000 triad employees and residents participated on behalf of their companies, and their dedication to helping neighbors in need made this year's Challenge the most successful yet," said Dave McIlquham, chairman and chief executive officer of Sealy. "Each year, I am astounded by the generosity of our employees, and the companies and employees who work in the Triad." Sealy employees alone donated 150,000 items for the Salvation Army. The Triad Holiday Challenge culminated with the Sealy/FOX8 Holiday Concerts in Greensboro and Winston-Salem on Friday and Saturday. Each provides a free night of family entertainment in exchange for donated items. Leaders at the Salvation Army said the Challenge and Holiday Concerts are two of the biggest reasons the organization has the ability to meet the needs of area families when it comes to warm meals, baby items and personal care products. "Last year, we were able to stock the Triad's food pantries through July with the items donated through the Triad Holiday Challenge and the Sealy/FOX8 Holiday Concerts," said Major Terry Edwards with the Salvation Army of High Point. "The significant increase in items donated this year means we'll be able to help even more of our neighbors well into next fall." Karen Adams, vice president and general manager of FOX8 and former chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board of High Point has watched the holiday event grow tremendously since it was first started. "FOX8 sponsored the first Holiday Concert in 1987," said Adams. "Donations have grown significantly each year, especially since Sealy created the Triad Holiday Challenge to bolster contributions." "Not only do our employees enjoy participating, but we love to see our drivers unloading pallets of food they've picked up from other companies who have joined the Challenge," said David Congdon, President and Chief Operating Officer of Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. "Even more thrilling is the excitement we see from the Salvation Army when we drop off all the items collected through the Challenge and the Holiday Concerts." Sealy and Old Dominion step out of the competition when it comes time to name the winners. Companies are divided into three divisions based on their numbers of employees. This year's winners are: Division 1 (750+ employees) Winner: American Express 26,180 items Runner-up: Citi Cards 17,400 Division 2 (176 - 749 employees) Winner: High Point Bank & Trust 1,370 items Runner-up: Womble Carlyle 805 items Division 3 (1 - 175 employees) Winner: Piedmont Natural Gas - Greensboro 9,550 items Runner-up: Home Services Relocation 1,700 items About the Triad Holiday Challenge The Triad Holiday Challenge began five years ago when McIlquham wanted to find a way to supplement the canned food drive that takes place at the Sealy/FOX8 Holiday Concerts. In order to make the most of the effort, he extended the challenge beyond the doors of Sealy and on to local companies. The "friendly competition" has grown over the years as the piles of food have gotten bigger and bigger. Each year, Sealy, FOX8 and Old Dominion organize, conduct outreach, promote and manage logistics for the Challenge to support the needs of the local community. This year, both Costco and Food Lion came on board to support the food drive. Sealy and FOX8 sponsor and organize the Holiday Concerts. For more information on sponsoring companies, please visit: * Sealy, Inc. at www.sealy.com * FOX8/WGHP at www.fox8wghp.com * Old Dominion Freight Line at www.odfl.com
SOURCE Sealy, Inc.