A small boy inspires world record sock drive

A small boy had a simple plan that made a huge difference

Walmart’s culture is our most cherished asset and a defining force for Walmart associates. It’s a shared family heritage that knows no geographical borders and is lived out daily in the work we do. Our culture permeates every aspect of our business and often bleeds into our associates’ lives. Sam Shamburger, the 11-year-old son of associates Paul and Quinsey, is an example of how a simple idea by one person can help Walmart make a big difference.

Sam was asked to help come up with a big idea for Walmart Technology’s 2016 Day of Giving-Office of the CIO. After giving it some thought, an idea came to Sam while on a family vacation. It was simple: find something that everyone needs, and try to set a world record while getting it for them.

And so, the research began.

A few record options were found, but in the end, a Sock Drive made the most sense. The next step was to see if there was a need in the local area of Walmart’s Home Office for all those socks. After speaking with several nonprofits, the discovered need was staggering. Combined, nonprofits in Northwest Arkansas supply over 900 pairs of socks per month to their clients.

For this big idea to comply with the Guinness World Record’s rules, a big effort was needed. A team of associates from across the division came together to build in compliance checks, support logistics for nonprofits and pull in members of local communities to oversee as “Independent Witnesses” (city council members, athletic club directors and more). All that was left was to get the word out and let our associates “live their spark” by participating.

When the Day of Giving came, our associates showed up in outstanding numbers. One associate said it best: “Never bet against Walmart Associates”.

The Big Idea: A small boy had a simple plan that made a huge difference

The previous record of 2,459 pairs of socks, held by Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, CA, was shattered in just over 2 hours of opening the donation event (pending confirmation from the Guinness World Record).

Sam was there that day to see his big idea in action. He shared in the excitement and watched as associates lived out Walmart’s culture. His job for the day was to announce the final count when the buzzer ended and the numbers were tallied for the final time.

Sam’s announcement?

“The final count for our sock drive is 11,939 pairs of socks!”

7Hills Homeless Center, Bright Futures, Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County, Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center, and Restoration Village all received socks from the drive.

The Big Idea: A small boy had a simple plan that made a huge difference

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