Jasmine Lights a Spark for Women in Crisis

Giving Back

With Walmart’s Volunteerism Always Pays program, benefits flow to all involved.

When Walmart merchant Jasmine Hudson has good news to share, her friend Jae Merchant is the first person she calls. And when it’s bad news? It’s still Jae. The two friends have a blog together, share business ventures together and are “pretty much joined at the hip,” says Jasmine.


So when Walmart wanted to find someone to help highlight Jasmine’s volunteer work in a new ad campaign, they naturally picked Jae.


As Jasmine started speaking to the cameras in front of a wall of television monitors, the screens suddenly went black. In a moment, Jae’s face appeared on the wall of screens.


“Hey bud! That’s right, it’s me,” Jae begins her letter to Jasmine. “You are doing amazing things at Walmart. You’ve volunteered countless hours helping to mentor women and kids… Their lives are so much brighter because you came along to light that spark.”

Jasmine is the merchant for Kids Crafts, Jewelry Making and Fashion Art. She has been working at the Home Office in Bentonville, Arkansas, for eight years and volunteers at Havenwood, a Bentonville nonprofit that helps women move from crisis to self-sufficiency.


“It's women coming from either being recently incarcerated, overcoming drug addiction or alcoholism, or coming out of abusive situations,” Jasmine explains.


Havenwood has on-site apartments for single women and for women who are parenting. “They go through a two-year program where they pay a very small amount for rent. We teach them life skills, just to make sure they're getting acclimated back into everyday life, and establishing those disciplines to make them successful.”


Serving Women in Her Community

She first heard about Havenwood four years ago. Today, Jasmine volunteers on Tuesdays, providing childcare while mothers take classes on topics such as parenting or financial literacy. Two years ago, she took a position on Havenwood’s board to help with fundraising, events and community engagement.


Jasmine says Walmart has been supportive of her efforts at Havenwood, including through the Volunteerism Always Pays (VAP) program. Under program guidelines, Walmart donates $250 for every 25 hours that an associate volunteers. So, in addition to the tens of thousands Jasmine has helped raise for Havenwood by organizing fundraisers, she has also brought in about $2,000 in Walmart donations just by volunteering her time there.

Working at Walmart also helps Jasmine keep an eye out for items on sale for the women and children at Havenwood. She always stocks up when she spots a great deal. A $5 sale on fuzzy pillows a few years ago meant Jasmine could buy pillows for all the kids at the shelter. “It turned into a madhouse, and it was amazing!” she laughs.


Advocating for Customers

Not only is Jasmine helping women and kids at Havenwood, but volunteering has also helped her understand the realities of living on a low budget—and the difference that Walmart can make. She applies what she’s learned at her job as a merchant. “You take that with you, and when you start negotiating with suppliers, you really are advocating for the customer.”


“It resonates with our mission as Walmart to save money and live better, right?” she says. “How do we make sure that women—like the women at Havenwood—can live and survive with the great prices that we provide to our customers?”


Do you want to amplify your volunteering efforts? Log in to OneWalmart to learn more about Walmart’s Volunteerism Always Pays program or visit walmart.com/spark.