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Walmart and the Walmart Foundation yesterday rolled out “Walmart Gives Back,” a holiday giving program that will contribute $32 million in monetary and in-kind donations to charities across the nation. For the campaign’s kickoff, Feeding America and Meals On Wheels executives joined Walmart to see off 35 new refrigerator trucks donated by the Walmart Foundation and loaded with the retailer’s private label Great Value products as well as fresh apples. The trucks’ destinations are Feeding America food banks in Miami, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Boston, Memphis and 30 additional areas in time for Thanksgiving.
According to Feeding America, the trucks will allow the food banks to transport up to 52.5 million pounds of food — the equivalent of 41 million additional meals — annually.
“In this economy, families and seniors across the country who rely on food banks have been hit especially hard,” noted Walmart Foundation president Margaret McKenna. “As Walmart stores continue to be the price leader on groceries, our partnership with Feeding America is helping us do our part to put more food on the dinner table. Our business and our charitable giving are united in the commitment to eradicate hunger in America.”
“With more than 90 million pounds of food donated to Feeding America’s network of food banks, Walmart is Feeding America’s top corporate partner in the fight against hunger,” added Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Chicago-based Feeding America. “These 35 new refrigerated trucks are critical to the food banks and will make an enormous impact in allowing the safe transport of nutritious food to millions of people in need around the country.”
Additionally, the Walmart Foundation has given a $2.2 million grant to Meals On Wheels Association of America. Through the grant, 140 Meals On Wheels programs across the United States will upgrade or replace delivery vehicles, stoves, refrigerators and freezers.
As in previous years, much of Walmart’s holiday giving will occur locally, with over $24 million donated from the Walmart Foundation to nonprofit organizations in the communities surrounding the mega-retailer’s 4,000 stores and clubs. Also, the Walmart Foundation will again donate $1.25 million to The Salvation Army, and Red Kettles will raise funds at Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations nationally from Friday, Nov. 27 through Thursday, Dec. 24.
Later this holiday season, Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart will reveal additional recipients of “Walmart Gives Back.”