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BENTONVILLE, Ark. - This week, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. here and America's Second Harvest - The Nation's Food Bank Network (A2H), kick off the delivery of nearly 7.5 million meals to those in need through a month-long series of regional events taking place at local food banks nationwide.
Throughout the month of September, more than 400 semi-trucks, each filled with nutritious, protein-rich food, will be delivered to local food banks to help fight hunger in the United States. As part of this effort, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club associates nationwide will partner with America's Second Harvest member food banks to assist with the delivery and distribution of food to their communities.
The food delivery is a direct result of the $8.7 million donated and raised on behalf of the America's Second Harvest Network through Wal-Mart Stores and Sam's Club locations nationwide last spring.
Aiming to improve the nutritional mix of food distributed to clients, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club helped augment A2H's Food Solicitation and Distribution Program and provide healthier options -- fresh produce, protein and whole wheat -- to the millions of Americans relying on food banks throughout the country. These food items are among those least donated and most difficult to distribute, due to its perishable nature, according to Wal-Mart.
In addition to food donations and deliveries to local food banks, nearly $1.5 million of the $8.7 million raised will be used for the America's Second Harvest Network's national BackPack Program, which enables children at risk of hunger to bring home nutritious food for the weekends and during school vacations. Select food banks will receive grants of $20,000-$35,000 to be used to purchase food and supplies for the program.
The Wal-Mart and America's Second Harvest Network partnership is the result of the alarming news released in the 2006 Hunger in America study, which found that more than 25 million Americans, including 9 million children and nearly 3 million seniors, request emergency food assistance from one of the 50,000 agencies served by an America's Second Harvest Network Member food bank. This represents an 8 percent increase since the last study, which was conducted in 2001. The partnership is also an extension of the relationship established during Hurricane Katrina response and relief efforts.