NASCAR® Driver Tony Stewart And The Office Depot Foundation Team Up To Give 6,000 Sackpacks To Kids In The Chicagoland Area

Office Depot, Inc. (NYSE:ODP), a leading global provider of office supplies and services, and the Office Depot Foundation today announced that Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet in the NASCAR® Sprint Cup Series™, will join the Foundation to donate 6,000 new sackpacks to non-profit organizations, schools, and agencies in and around the Chicagoland area.

The Office Depot Foundation will present the sackpacks, which contain essential school supplies, during a special “Back-to-School Celebration” beginning at 3:30 p.m. local time on Thursday, September 13, at the Office Depot store located at 392 E. Rand Road in Arlington Heights. In addition to Stewart, special guests scheduled to attend include Chicago City Clerk Susan Mendoza and Village of Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene J. Mulder.

Stewart is partnering with the Office Depot Foundation for the fourth consecutive year to support the Foundation’s National Backpack Program, which is donating 400,000 sackpacks throughout the 2012 back-to-school season – the most given out in a single year. By the end of this year, the National Backpack Program will have helped more than 2.9 million kids worldwide since 2001.

“With a new school year in full swing, I’m really looking forward to capping off our back to school season celebrations with a visit to Arlington Heights,” said Stewart, the three-time and reigning NASCAR® Sprint Cup Series™ champion. “The Office Depot Foundation continues to do a great job with this program and I’m very proud to be a part of something that continues to help so many kids feel confident about heading back to school with the tools they need to succeed inside the classroom.”

The non-profit organizations, schools and agencies scheduled to receive sackpacks during the “Back-to-School Celebration” on September 13 include:
  • Arlington Heights School District 25
  • Casa Central
  • Chicago Communities in Schools
  • Chicago Public Schools
  • Chicago Youth Programs
  • Community Unit School District 200
  • Kids In Need Foundation
  • Latino Organization of the Southwest
  • Lighthouse Youth Center
  • Monarch Awards Foundation
  • Rainbow PUSH Coalition

National Backpack Program

Through the National Backpack Program, which is now in its 12 th year, the Office Depot Foundation helps deserving children prepare for school by donating specially designed sackpacks throughout the United States and internationally. The sackpacks, which come in seven colorful designs, reflect and respond to changes in the ways that children are taking their materials to school.

During the past five years, the Office Depot Foundation has donated more than 22,000 backpacks and sackpacks in the Chicagoland area.

“It is incredibly gratifying to know that we are able to help children go to school with their heads held high and smiles on their faces – just like all their friends,” said Mary Wong, President of the Office Depot Foundation, who will participate in the event. “We are proud to know that we’re making a difference – one child at a time.”

Wong noted that these sackpacks do not display an Office Depot or Office Depot Foundation logo. “This is truly a philanthropic program, and we are proud to say that we have continued to expand it in each of the past three years,” she said.

To provide its sackpacks to children in 2012, the Office Depot Foundation is hosting more than 25 “Back-to-School Celebrations” in cities across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico – five of which include Stewart. Award-winning actor, comedian and host of “America's Got Talent” Nick Cannon joined the Foundation for donation events in three cities. In addition, thousands of sackpacks also are being donated through Office Depot stores in hundreds of communities and in collaboration with Office Depot’s Business Solutions Division in select cities.

Thousands more are being given to kids through the Office Depot Foundation’s collaborations with 12 prominent non-profit organizations: AARP Experience Corps., the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), Feed The Children, the Kids In Need Foundation, Zach Bonner’s Little Red Wagon Foundation, the National Foundation for Women Legislators, Operation Homefront, Speedway Children’s Charities, the Tony Stewart Foundation and – adding to the program’s global scope – Food For The Poor and Samaritan’s Feet International. For the fifth consecutive year, donations also will be made to children of the Navajo Nation in Arizona.

More information about the National Backpack Program can be found on the Office Depot Foundation’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/officedepotfoundation. For information on the Office Depot Foundation and its initiatives, go to www.officedepotfoundation.org/. You can follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.twitter.com/officedepotfndn.

About the Office Depot Foundation

The Office Depot Foundation is an independent foundation – tax exempt under IRC Sec. 501(c)(3) – that serves as the independent charitable giving arm of Office Depot, Inc. In keeping with its mission, Listen Learn Care ®, the Foundation supports a variety of programs that help children succeed in school and in life; enable civil society (non-profit) organizations to become more efficient and effective; help people and businesses prepare for disasters, then recover and rebuild afterwards; strengthen local communities through grants, product donations and volunteerism; and encourage community development through entrepreneurship and economic innovation. For more information, visit www.officedepotfoundation.org.

About Office Depot

Office Depot provides office supplies and services through 1,680 worldwide retail stores, a dedicated sales force, top-rated catalogs, and global e-commerce operations. Office Depot has annual sales of approximately $11.5 billion, employs about 39,000 associates, and serves customers in 60 countries around the world.

Office Depot’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ODP. Additional press information can be found at: http://mediarelations.officedepot.com and http://socialpress.officedepot.com/.

Note to media: These sackpacks are not available to the general public. They are being donated only to the designated recipients named above.

Copyright Business Wire 2010

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