Chicago-based Beam Suntory announced that it donated $100,000 to Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit that builds strong, stable and secure military families so they can thrive in the communities that they've worked so hard to protect. The funds will support Holiday Meals for Military, a program providing more than 8,400 family meals across the country this holiday season, run by Operation Homefront.

Since 2008, Beam Suntory has supported Operation Homefront, raising its total cash and in-kind contribution to more than $3.4 million, it says.

The Holiday Meals for Military program dates back to Thanksgiving 2009 at a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, there with his wife and infant, had a handful of groceries they could not afford. A Beam Suntory employee in line behind them intervened and picked up the $12 cost, but was inspired to do much more, the company says.

"The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for military service men and women, and we are proud to support those who defend our freedoms and their families, who are truly our nation's silent heroes," Beam Suntory Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Matt Shattock said in a statement. "It's been incredibly inspiring to see this program grow from that first donation to the distribution of thousands of meal kits today." 

Brig. Gen. (ret.) John I. Pray Jr., president and chief executive officer of Operation Homefront, added: "The holiday season can be a very challenging time of the year for military families — particularly those who are on a very tight budget. Our highly valued Holiday Meals for Military program has provided meals to more than 300,000 military family members over the past several years, and I am proud to say Beam Suntory has been a driving force behind our important work. We are grateful to an amazing Beam team for all they do to help us help these deserving families thrive — not simply struggle to get by — in the communities they have worked so hard to protect."

Beam Suntory employees also are volunteering to help pack meal kits across the country. Since Holiday Meals for Military's inception, Beam Suntory employees have volunteered thousands of hours to help pack and distribute family meals, it says.