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Walmart and 10 well-known U.S. food companies have begun the third chapter of the “Fighting Hunger Together” initiative, which aims to reduce hunger across the country. The Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-retailer, joined by top grocery suppliers Campbell Soup Co., ConAgra Foods, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, General Mills, Kraft Foods Group, Kellogg Company, Mondelez International, Nestlé USA, PepsiCo and Unilever, will engage millions of customers and Walmart associates this spring to bring food and funding to nonprofit hunger relief organizations.
To address the critical issue of children in food-insecure households, Fighting Hunger Together will team with Chicago-based Feeding America to deliver $3 million in grants for hunger programs and provide more than 35 million meals for local Feeding America food banks and their partner agencies across the United States.
“An astonishing one in five children in America are food insecure, not knowing, at some point during the year, where their next meal will come from, and as the nation’s largest grocer, we have a responsibility to help change this reality,” noted Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Walmart Foundation. “With this initiative, we are working to help families across the U.S. by generating meals and awarding grants to local food banks and agencies to support hunger relief programs, including backpack programs providing vitals meals to children when they are out of school, and community gardens teaching families how to grow their own healthy foods.”
Shoppers will be able take part in the fight against hunger and help distribute grants to local communities across the country. Ways to participate include the following:
Voting: Customers and Walmart associates can cast one vote a day online for a Feeding America food bank or partner agency in local communities nationwide. The winning 100 organizations, to be revealed in May, will share $3 million in grants to fund hunger relief programs.
Volunteering: Customers and associates can volunteer at local food banks by making an online pledge.
Additionally, through Aug. 31, Walmart employees can help out at food banks and other hunger relief organizations as they compete for a chance to choose a local organization to receive a $5,000 grant under the “Volunteerism Goes Viral” effort.
“The Fighting Hunger Together initiative is a truly unique program that ignites support for our nationwide network of food banks and their partner feeding agencies at a time when the need is great,” said Feeding America president and CEO Bob Aiken. “The spring months can be an especially challenging time for our food banks, when food donations can be very low. Walmart’s Fighting Hunger Together initiative creates an easy yet effective way for people around the country to help those in need. Last year, for example, the April and September initiatives generated meals for key programs like after-school and summer feeding programs and classes that teach families how to prepare healthy meals at home.”
Further, internationally recognized child expert, author and speaker Dr. Michele Borba, the award-winning author of 22 parenting and educational books, including “Parents Do Make a Difference,” has also joined forces with Walmart to offer expert insight on hunger in the United States and its adverse effect on children and families.
And in local communities this month, Walmart and key suppliers will host “Stuff the Truck” food drives, including one co-hosted by General Mills and attended by country music star Thomas Rhett. Suppliers will also show their support for the initiative at the 48th American Country Music Awards on April 7, during which performers will engage with fans and share information on the importance of fighting hunger together.
Fighting Hunger Together is part of Walmart’s and the Walmart Foundation’s $2 billion commitment through 2015 to fight hunger. Walmart and its foundation have pledged to donate more than 1.1 billion pounds of food from Walmart stores, distribution centers and Sam’s Club locations, valued at $1.75 billion, in addition to $250 million in grants to aid hunger relief organizations.