The Walmart Foundation is donating $7.8 million to support food banks and provide healthy, summer meals to children who receive free or reduced-price lunches during the school year. Through partnerships with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Feeding America, and local non-profits in the 10 states where children are most at risk of hunger, Walmart and its Foundation will help assure that their neighbors and those in local communities have access to nutritious food.
In Washington State, the Walmart and Boys & Girls Clubs of America partnership will provide more than 3,500 children with nutritious meals during the summer, when these children in need would otherwise be deprived of this vital meal. Receiving grants in Washington include Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound, Whatcom County, Skagit County, Snohomish County, Columbia Basin, Spokane County, Benton and Franklin Counties. Donations will also be made to 14 other organizations statewide to address local hunger needs.
“We continue to see the impact that the economy is having on our neighbors – they are stretching their budgets and looking to us for help in our stores and through our giving,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “Hunger relief is a cause that enables our company’s strengths to work for the greater good. From supporting summer feeding programs to donating food, we’re committed to doing all we can to help end hunger for our nation’s children, parents, homeless and all who have found themselves in need.”
“Millions of Americans often do not know where they will find their next meal. This includes one in six children who will live on the brink of hunger. This is a sad reality that will only improve if our government, non-profits and corporate leaders work together,” said Rick Guild, President/CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound. “The Walmart Foundation is filling a gap during this critical time when summer feeding programs and hunger relief organizations are seeing a decline in funding. Its efforts to eradicate hunger in our country should be commended.” The Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound are grateful to the Wal-Mart Foundation for their support in funding healthy and nutritious meals this summer at the Al Davies, D.A. Gonyea, East Side, Lakewood and South End Branches. With the help of such organizations as the Wal-Mart Foundation the Boys & Girls Clubs can continue to provide quality programs and services for youth across the nation.
As more Americans rely on hunger relief organizations to provide for their families during these tough economic times, Walmart’s philanthropic arm is expanding its hunger relief efforts in three ways:
- Feeding Hungry Children – A $1.2 million grant to Boys & Girls Clubs of America will purchase healthy meals for more than 93,000 children who, this summer, are being serviced by 350 Boys & Girls Clubs Chapters across the U.S. An additional $250,000 in grants will be awarded to summer feeding programs in Texas, Mississippi, the District of Columbia, Tennessee, Arizona, South Carolina, Louisiana, Missouri, Maine and North Carolina, the top states for child hunger, according to Feeding America.
- Food Bank Support – A $3 million commitment is expected to deliver more than 30 new refrigerator trucks to food banks across the U.S., enabling donated food to be safely transported to food pantries, soup kitchens and other agencies served by Feeding America, the nation’s largest charitable hunger-relief organization.
- Food Donation – Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations expect to meet their goal of 90 million pounds of food donated by December 2009. To date, the company’s food donation program has provided more than 59.8 million pounds of fresh produce, meat and other nutritious foods to U.S. food banks.
Currently, Walmart supercenters and Neighborhood Markets in 2,101 locations – in addition to more than 450 Sam’s Club locations across the U.S. – are participating in the company’s food donation program. By the end of 2009, Feeding America expects its affiliated community food banks nationwide to be connected with each of Walmart’s Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets, and its Sam’s Club locations to transport food from store shelves to the tables of families in need – often in less than 24 hours.
“We are extremely grateful to Walmart for its generous support that will guarantee thousands of the young people we serve receive wholesome meals and snacks over the summer,” said BGCA president and CEO Roxanne Spillett. “The current economic downturn has reduced donations to hundreds of our Clubs that are simultaneously receiving a record number of requests from families and children in need – many of whom have never had to ask for public assistance.”
The Walmart Foundation will also continue supporting hunger relief organizations at the state and local levels. This summer, more than $2.1 million will be donated to Meals on Wheels programs, food banks and other hunger-focused organizations in 21 states via the Walmart Foundation State Giving Councils. On behalf of local Walmart stores, the Walmart Foundation has also contributed more than $1.3 million since January towards the fight against hunger in communities nationwide.
“We are extremely grateful that the Walmart Foundation is continuing to make a strong commitment to help feed millions of Americans who live at risk of hunger,” said Vicki Escarra, President and Chief Executive Officer of Feeding America. “Walmart’s store donation program is helping to provide our members across the country with a variety of nutritious food, which is especially needed at a time when so many Americans are struggling to provide for their families.”
Additionally, on the heels of President Obama’s recent announcement of the “United We Serve” summer service initiative, Walmart and Sam’s Club associates in the U.S. are being encouraged to make community service a part of their daily lives. The company’s internal Web site, mywalmart.com, helps associates find local volunteer opportunities; and the Walmart Foundation’s Volunteerism Always Pays (VAP) program awards grant dollars to qualifying hunger relief organizations, among others, in recognition of associate volunteer hours. The Walmart Foundation anticipates associates will log more than 1.5 million volunteer hours this fiscal year and expects to award more than $9 million in VAP grants.
For more information on the Walmart Foundation and its hunger relief efforts, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.