Every day, Anya Christensen and her family, including her mother, a former Marine, rely on the simplicity of electricity. Anya, a 14-year-old living with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and other birth defects, relies on electric power for medical equipment she uses every day.
That is why Eckrich,the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and savory deli meats, teamed up with Richard Petty Motorsports, Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 43 Eckrich Ford and Jewel-Osco to present Anya and her family with a gift that will change their life. Almirola, on behalf of Eckrich, presented Anya and her family with a new home generator to ensure that power is never lost to her much-needed medical gear.
Eckrich also honored Anya by making a donation to Victory Junction, a children's camp founded by the Petty family thatprovides life-changing camping experiences in a safe and medically-sound environment, in her name to cover her expense after attending the camp this past summer. Attending camp allows Anya to spend a fun-filled week with other children who live with similar conditions.
Almirola then presented Anya and her family with Eckrich crew shirts and hats while letting them know that they will spend the weekend as VIP guests of Eckrich and the famed No. 43 race team at Chicagoland Speedway.
But, Eckrich and Jewel-Osco had one more surprise for them. Thanking them for the service and sacrifice of Anya's mother, retired Marine Holly Ann Johnson, the family was presented with free groceries for one year at Jewel-Osco, courtesy of Eckrich.
Almirola has joined Eckrich for different surprises this year and always enjoys seeing the reaction.
"It's important that Eckrich and Richard Petty Motorsports can help out Anya and her family," said Almirola. "Anya is a great child and her parents have sacrificed so much. This is the least that we can do to help them out. It's cool that Eckrich and Jewel-Osco can come together and I can be a part of something so meaningful."
The gifts are part of the Eckrich campaign to honor, thank and support military families through its partnership with Operation Homefront, a national non-profit whose mission is to build strong, stable and secure military families. This is the third consecutive year that Eckrich has made a donation for a military family child to attend Victory Junction.
"There are not many places where you can go and be instantly inspired," said Chuck Gitkin, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Smithfield Foods. "Victory Junction is a camp where miracles are happening every day. It's a place where Anya can go and enjoy her childhood and you'd never know of her challenges. Hopefully our gifts today bring smiles to the face of Anya and her family. This is also our way of saying 'thanks' and honoring Holly Ann Johnson and her family for their sacrifices they made to our country. We are very proud to give back to our military families and are thankful for relationships with Richard Petty Motorsports, Aric Almirola, Kyle Petty and Jewel-Osco for all making this special day happen."
"This is very overwhelming," said Anya's mother, Holly after being surprised. "Getting a generator is a huge relief, and getting free groceries, it's just hard to explain the emotions. We have medical bills, we worry about Anya being able to have power throughout the nights, so I'm just really grateful for everything today. It's all going to help. And, to have Eckrich support Victory Junction, that's great because it's a place that Anya really loves. It's just all so overwhelming and I am just really thankful."