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BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- The Wal-Mart Foundation has given $4 million to America's Second Harvest - The Nation's Food Bank Network to support the organization's BackPack Program, among other initiatives to help feed hungry Americans.
Wal-Mart first partnered with America's Second Harvest in 2005 to assist with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Since that time the company has contributed and helped to raise nearly $15 million for America's Second Harvest food banks.
The America's Second Harvest BackPack Program is an ongoing effort to provide food to at-risk children on weekends and out-of-school periods when federal breakfast and lunch programs are not available. Backpacks, filled with nonperishable and easily prepared food, are filled and discreetly distributed to children on the last day before the weekend or holiday vacation.
Wal-Mart began supporting the BackPack Program in 2006, and with a contribution of nearly $1.5 million, 24 food banks were able to participate for the first time and 33 additional food banks received grants to expand their existing BackPack programs. As a result, 492,000 backpacks filled with approximately 3 million pounds of food were distributed to hungry children.
The BackPack Program currently operates in 40 states and Washington, D.C., and provides backpacks to approximately 50,000 children each week. In addition to the BackPack Program, Wal-Mart's donation to America's Second Harvest will also be used to support nutritious food and produce programs, transportation to deliver items to food banks, and the expansion of the organization's existing store pick-up program.