BUFFALO, NY - From our tip line, an agency providing for the needs of the blind, alerted us to a last minute mess, which looked like it was going to ruin their most important fundraiser of the year.
However, two corporate giants have come together, to make sure that does not happen.
The Buffalo chapter of the National Federation of The Blind was set to hold their annual hot dog sale at at the Sheridan Drive Walmart the weekend after next, at which time they had hoped to raise up to $2,000
"It's very important," said Mike Robinson, 2nd Vice President of the National Federation of the Blind of New York State. "We raise most of our budget for the year, perhaps three-quarters of our annual budget, from the hot dog sale."
But two days ago, the group got a call from Walmart ,saying the permission they'd been granted months earlier , had been rescinded, because the lease they have with the Subway within the store, which also sells food, contains a clause prohibiting more than six charity hot dog sales per year.
"I can understand their contractual obligations as part of a lease agreement...but I can't understand why they waited until a week and a half before the event to cancel it," said Robinson, suggesting Walmart should have known long before now they had permitted more events than were allowed.
Earlier this year, the Blue Ribbon Riding Group also had hot dog sales cancelled at the last minute, at two different Walmarts, for the same reason.
A mother of one of the girls in that group, who asked not to be identified, says they had to cancel their planned trip to a competition in Kentucky because the sale couldn't go forward.
She also says Walmart offered them $200, suggesting they buy candy bars , which their girls would then be allowed to sell in front of their stores instead.
The group concluded the profit margin on selling the bars wasn't worth the day's work they'd spend trying to peddle them. So they told Walmart they'd happily just accept the $200 as a donation instead.
On Wednesday afternoon, Two On Your Side was contacted by William C. Wertz Director of Communications - East, for Walmart's Division of Public Affairs & Government Relations.
Wertz reported that Walmart advised the National Federation of the Blind in Buffalo to advise them that their hot dog sale planned for the weekend of August 24-25 can go on as scheduled.
"Our concern had been our contractual obligations with our food-service partners," said Wertz. "However, recognizing scheduling commitments we had made, we have secured Subway's agreement to proceed with any planned events for the rest of the year."
Werzt acknowledged that Walmart needed to "do a better job" in keeping track of the number and type of fundraisers they allowed -- so they don't have to go back on any promises in the future.
"We apologize for the miscommunication and will be making a contribution to the (Federation of the Blind) in support of their fund-raising efforts," he said.
Robinson confirmed that Walmart and Subway have offered to let their hot dog sale go on as scheduled, but stopped short of confirming that it would.
"We still need to weigh all our options," he said.