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The Walmart Foundation is marking National Nutrition Month and National School Breakfast Week by giving $6.7 million in grants to five national nonprofit organizations that provide children with school breakfasts and help families develop better eating habits. The grants are part of Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the Walmart Foundation’s $2 billion cash and in-kind commitment through 2015 to help fight hunger in America, and Walmart’s 2011 initiative to offer customers healthier and more affordable food choices.
Grants to Action for Healthy Kids ($1 million) and the American Association of School Administrators ($2.5 million) will fund programs that help kids start the school day with a morning meal, furnishing them with the necessary nutritional to learn and grow. Additional grants to Common Threads ($720,000), the Gaston & Porter Health Improvement Center ($500,000) and the National 4-H Council ($2 million) will support efforts that provide people of all ages with the education and training to identify, shop for and prepare healthier meals.
“Through Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s ongoing commitment to help Americans live better, we are working to make nutritious food more accessible and affordable to children and adults across the nation,” said Walmart Foundation senior director Julie Gehrki. “Many Americans are not making a well-balanced diet part of their daily routine. According to the Centers for Disease Control, only 25 percent of adults, and even fewer children, eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. Through these grants, we are [partnering] with nonprofits to assure families not only have access to the healthy food they need, but also are empowered with the knowledge to develop and maintain better eating habits so they can live long and healthy lives.”
The foundation’s grants are expected to aid 250,000 Americans across the country over the next two years.
Meanwhile, noted dietitian and Cordon Bleu-certified chef Michelle Dudash has teamed with Walmart to kick off National Nutrition Month and help raise awareness about the importance of school breakfast and nutrition education programs.
“When it comes to eating healthy, knowing where to start can be the hardest part,” acknowledged Dudash, whose latest cookbook is the bestselling “Clean Eating for Busy Families.” “Nutrition education provides a foundation to understand what foods to buy and how to prepare meals that are part of a well-balanced diet. By following simple steps as you shop and cook, all families can come together every day to eat meals that are healthy, kid-friendly and delicious.”
In other Walmart Foundation news, President Obama has nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the organization’s head, to be director of the Office of Management and Budget. “Sylvia is a strong leader who both masters the details and has a clear vision for making big things happen,” noted Mike Duke, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. “She cares deeply about people and has natural personal warmth that enables her to build relationships and drive results that deliver impact. She understands business and the role that business, government and civil society must play to build a strong economy that provides opportunity and strengthens communities across the country.”
Added Duke: “Sylvia does a great job leading the Walmart Foundation, and if confirmed by the Senate, will do a tremendous job serving our country.”