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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has rolled out the spring "Fight Hunger. Spark Change." campaign, a national effort encouraging consumers to participate in hunger relief efforts. The Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-retailer aims to donate as much as $3 million to Feeding America through the #WeSparkChange social media challenge, while six of its major suppliers -- leading CPG companies Campbell Soup Co., ConAgra Foods, General Mills, The Kellogg Co., Kraft Foods Group and Unilever -- hope to contribute enough to help the anti-hunger organization provide 75 million meals for affiliate food banks across the United States.
The campaign comes at a time of year that food banks are facing what's often referred to as a "spring hunger gap," when the food supply is at its lowest level.
"This spring, we're making it easy for our customers to give back to those in need in their local community by taking simple actions in store or sharing photos online," said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and SVP of Walmart sustainability. "With the support of our customers and partnerships with our suppliers and Feeding America … we can make a real difference for families facing hunger across the U.S."
Through May 3, customers can take part in the campaign in the following ways:
- Take the #WeSparkChange Challenge: Customers can take a picture of six friends, representing the one in six people struggling with hunger in the Unites States, and post it on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter as a public post with the hashtag #WeSparkChange. For each public post connected to that hashtag, Walmart will donate $10, up to a maximum donation of $1.5 million, to Feeding America. To help generate more donations, customers can post multiple pictures, tagging friends and challenging them to take their own pictures within 48 hours. To get the ball rolling, Walmart will make an initial donation of $1.5 million to Feeding America, with the goal of reaching a total donation of $3 million based on public participation, enough to help supply 30 million meals.
- Buy Participating Products: When shoppers buy any of the 240 participating products in Walmart stores nationwide, the supplier will make a donation to help Feeding America provide a meal at a local food bank. For every item purchased, a meal will be supplied for the Feeding America-affiliated food bank in that area.
- Donate at the Register: For the first time, customers can make a contribution at the register on behalf of a local Feeding America-affiliated food bank.
"The campaign is the latest example of Walmart engaging its suppliers, customers and associates with new and creative ways to help families struggling with hunger have access to the food they need," noted Bob Aiken, CEO of Chicago-based Feeding America.
Last year, Walmart revealed a commitment to create a more sustainable food system, with an emphasis on making food more affordable by reducing its "true cost" for both customers and the environment, increasing access to food, making healthier eating easier, and enhancing the safety and transparency of the food chain. The commitment includes the goal of providing 4 billion meals to needy people in the United States over the next five years.
Walmart operates 11,462 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries, and e-commerce websites in 11 countries.