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The Walmart Foundation is awarding $15.5 million in grants to seven national nonprofit organizations to aid free meal and nutrition education programs this summer and throughout the school year. The programs will help more than 1 million low-income children and their families in more than 7,700 communities across the country gain access to food and teach them how to cook and eat healthfully.
Those groups receiving funding are National Council of Young Men's Christian Association (Y-USA), $5.3 million; National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), $2.3 million; Baylor University’s Texas Hunger Initiative, $2.2 million; National 4-H Council, $2 million; National League of Cities, $1.5 million; FoodCorps, $1.2 million; and Common Threads, $1 million.
The grants come at a time when millions of children are out of school and without access to school meals and daily routines. Although the gap is narrowing, just one in six low-income kids who depended on school lunch during the school year took part in a summer nutrition program last year, the foundation observed, citing a recent report issued from the Washington, D.C.-based Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).
"While many children look forward to the summer months as a time to relax, it can be a difficult time for families who rely on meals at school," noted Karrie Denniston, director of hunger relief and nutrition at the Walmart Foundation. "As in years past, this summer we continue our work with longstanding nonprofit partners to help more kids access meals and learn to develop nutritious eating habits so they can live healthy lives."
As part of its commitment to create a more sustainable food system, Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. aims to provide 4 billion meals to needy U.S. residents and help 4 million people receive nutrition education through 2020.