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As part of its ongoing work to address the lingering societal problem of hunger, the Walmart Foundation will award $14 million in grants to provide more than 1.7 million children and families with free meals and nutrition education programs. The grants will increase access to meals for kids outside of school this summer and all year long, while also aiding families in the adoption of healthy, low-cost eating habits.
Five nonprofit organizations -- Alliance for a Healthier Generation ($1.5 million); Food Research and Action Center ($4 million); National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education and Families ($1.5 million); Texas Hunger Initiative ($2 million); and YMCA of the USA ($5 million) -- will use the grants to fund programs helping families in more than 450 communities across the United States. According to the foundation, 1.7 million children and families will benefit from the grants over the next two years.
“At Walmart, we recognize that many children rely on the meals provided at school to sustain an adequate nutrition level, and often go without after class ends and during summer vacation,” said Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart Foundation. “That’s why we're committed to supporting organizations that work to ensure children have access to meals all year long and are also teaching families about eating healthy. Through Walmart’s own efforts and by working with dedicated nonprofit partners to make healthy foods more accessible and affordable, we strive to help families live better, healthier lives.”
Additionally, to help raise awareness about the importance of access to meals and nutrition education programs year-round, the foundation has teamed with Dr. Michele Borba, a children’s health and development expert and author. Borba offers tips for families to enjoy a healthy summer, among them looking for programs that will serve kids regular meals and make sure they stay active during the school break, thereby avoiding the “summer slide.”
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are fighting hunger with a $2 billion commitment through 2015. The mega-retailer has already donated more than 1 billion meals to the needy across the country.