By Colleen Flaherty

Fort Hood Herald

The holidays may be over, but Coca-Cola and Walmart have just launched a new giving campaign to benefit military families.

All it takes is a text.

Between now and March, area residents with any mobile phone service provider may donate $5 to the Central Texas-Fort Hood Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army by texting 4663, the word "Hood" to 50555.

All money donated locally will stay local, Coca-Cola, Walmart and AUSA representatives said during a campaign kick-off event Dec. 21 at Fort Hood's Main Exchange, as children lined up to visit with Santa inside a replica of Santa's sitting room made of Cola-Cola product boxes.

Coca-Cola and local Walmarts jump-started the campaign at the event with a joint donation of $5,000.

"Coca-Cola is proud to be a member of this vibrant community, as we are of our men and women in uniform," Coca-cola executive Scott Bottoms said. "This partnership with Walmart and the people of the Killeen area allows us to express our thanks to all these brave soldiers by supporting their families."

Retired Lt. Gen. Don Jones accepted the check on behalf of the local AUSA.

While the organization's motivation is to be the "voice of the solider," he said, its work wouldn't be possible without "good community citizens like Coke and Walmart."

The Central Texas-Fort Hood AUSA chapter was recognized in 2009 as the biggest chapter in the world, with more than 17,000 members. It lobbies for and provides services to service members, veterans and military families at Fort Hood and in the surrounding communities.

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