The Cracker Barrel Foundation Joins National Military Family Association to Help Returning Service Members Reconnect With Their Families

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Military Family Association announced today that the Cracker Barrel Foundation has joined an elite group of national partners. The Cracker Barrel Foundation has pledged $100,000 in support of the Operation Purple® Family Retreat Program, which ensures families have a special place to reconnect after wartime separation.

Operation Purple® Family Retreats are three-day "camps" designed to provide military families with a safe and fun environment where they can create new family memories after a family member returns from service. Since 2009, the program has served more than 350 families and 1,500 family members.  With the commitment of the Cracker Barrel Foundation those numbers – and the success stories they represent – will continue to grow.

The Cracker Barrel Foundation operates through generous financial support provided by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.  The Cracker Barrel Foundation seeks to strengthen and preserve our community by supporting outstanding programs and organizations such as the National Military Family Association's Operation Purple.

"Military families are the Nation's families, and we have an obligation to take care of them," said Joyce Wessel Raezer, Executive Director of the National Military Family Association. "We're so grateful that the Cracker Barrel Foundation has picked up the torch. Their support of our Operation Purple retreats is critical in our effort to help military families recover from deployments and rekindle their family bonds."

Coming back together after deployment can be difficult.  By bringing families to beautiful outdoor locations, Operation Purple Family Retreats allow military families to spend quality time together making new memories.  Specially adapted communication activities developed by FOCUS ensure they return home stronger.  Families from all ranks and services, including National Guard and Reserve, hike, climb, canoe, bond and, of course, make s 'mores around the campfire.

"It was great for my boys to bond with their dad, and not see him withdraw," said one military spouse at a recent Operation Purple family retreat. "They needed to see mommy and daddy doing things together. Before we came, I thought, 'I can't continue on like this." Now, I feel we've strengthened our bond as a family."

"Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. and the Cracker Barrel Foundation have a history of supporting organizations that lift up our servicemen, servicewomen and veterans, said Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. President and CEO Sandra B. Cochran, a former captain in the U.S. Army.  "We are delighted to support the National Military Family Association and their Operation Purple® Program to create fun, healthy environments for families to reconnect after military separation."

Support of the military by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. and its Foundation has included:  Wounded Warrior Project Solider Ride; Construction of the Boundless Playground at Fort Campbell; the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C; the doughboy statue commemorating WWI; homeless shelters and food pantries serving the veteran population; Canine Companions for Independence; and the Civil Air Patrol of Florida.

About National Military Family Association

Military families serve our country with pride, honor, and quiet dedication. The National Military Family Association is the leading nonprofit organization committed to strengthening and protecting the families of the men and women currently serving, retired, wounded or fallen. We provide families of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Commissioned Corps of the USPHS and NOAA with information, work to get them the benefits they deserve, and offer programs that improve their lives. Our 44 years of service and accomplishments have made us a trusted resource for military families and the Nation's leaders. To learn more, visit

About Cracker Barrel Foundation

The Cracker Barrel Foundation seeks to strengthen and preserve our community by supporting programs in the areas of education, human services, cultural affairs, and the environment.  Special consideration is given to programs which address children, youth and family issues, and emphasize traditional values such as hard work, education, and self-reliance.  Since 1996, the Cracker Barrel Foundation has awarded over 700 scholarships and provided over 1300 grants to charitable organizations in communities across the country.  To learn more, visit