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The Walmart Foundation has awarded a $2.5 million grant to Share Our Strength to help U.S. families receive hands-on shopping, cooking and nutrition education to enable them to eat healthfully on a budget. The grant will provide 107,500 Americans with access to Share Our Strength’s “Cooking Matters” program, which helps low-income families develop and maintain healthier eating habits.
The initiative is part of Walmart’s and the foundation’s $2 billion cash and in-kind commitment through 2015 to help fight hunger in the United States, and Walmart’s 2011 initiative to give shoppers healthier, more affordable food options.
“Many families in America haven’t been given the opportunity to learn about how to eat healthy at home,” said Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart Foundation. “Programs like Cooking Matters give families the tools necessary to maximize their resources, shop smart on a budget and develop better eating habits. … [A]longside partners like Share Our Strength, we can help even more people eat healthier and live better.”
Over the next year, the grant will help fund “Cooking Matters at the Store” shopping tours at Walmart stores and other grocers. The interactive sessions with trained guides aim to teach four main skills: buying fruits and vegetables on a budget, comparing unit prices, reading food labels and identifying whole grain foods. Additionally, the grant will support six-week Cooking Matters courses that teach cooking, food budgeting and nutrition concepts proven to increase healthy eating. Following the completion of the course, Share Our Strength found that 80 percent of adult graduates of the course report improved food budgeting practices, while 78 percent of adult and teen graduates report higher fruit and vegetable consumption.
“The Walmart Foundation has supported Share Our Strength programs since 2010, and thanks to their continued support, we’ll be able to arm more families with the food and nutrition skills needed to make a lasting impact to their overall health,” noted Share Our Strength founder and CEO Billy Shore. “Cooking Matters has a long-standing history of equipping individuals and families with skills to help maximize their food budget and make healthier food choices. The program is part of our ‘No Kid Hungry’ campaign, which is working to end childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.”
Cooking Matters at the Store tours will roll out nationwide, and Cooking Matters courses will continue to take place in Georgia, Massachusetts, Illinois, Ohio, Texas, Florida, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Louisiana, New York, California, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington, Missouri and the District of Columbia.