The Walmart Foundation is donating $7.8 million to support food banks and provide healthy, summer meals to children who receive free or reduced-price lunches during the school year. Through partnerships with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Feeding America, and local non-profits in the 10 states where children are most at risk of hunger, Walmart and its Foundation will help assure that their neighbors and those in local communities have access to nutritious food.As more Americans rely on hunger relief organizations to provide for their families during these tough economic times, Walmart's philanthropic arm is expanding its hunger relief efforts in three ways:
"We continue to see the impact that the economy is having on our neighbors - they are stretching their budgets and looking to us for help in our stores and through our giving," said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. "Hunger relief is a cause that enables our company's strengths to work for the greater good. From supporting summer feeding programs to donating food, we're committed to doing all we can to help end hunger for our nation's children, parents, homeless and all who have found themselves in need."
"Millions of Americans often do not know where they will find their next meal. This includes one in six children who will live on the brink of hunger. This is a sad reality that will only improve if our government, non-profits and corporate leaders work together," said Edward Cooney, executive director of the Congressional Hunger Center. "The Walmart Foundation is filling a gap during this critical time when summer feeding programs and hunger relief organizations are seeing a decline in funding. Its efforts to eradicate hunger in our country should be commended."
"We are extremely grateful to Walmart for its generous support that will guarantee thousands of the young people we serve receive wholesome meals and snacks over the summer," said BGCA president and CEO Roxanne Spillett. "The current economic downturn has reduced donations to hundreds of our Clubs that are simultaneously receiving a record number of requests from families and children in need - many of whom have never had to ask for public assistance."
Currently, Walmart supercenters and Neighborhood Markets in 2,101 locations - in addition to more than 450 Sam's Club locations across the U.S. - are participating in the company's food donation program. By the end of 2009, Feeding America expects its affiliated community food banks nationwide to be connected with each of Walmart's supercenters and Neighborhood Markets, and its Sam's Club locations to transport food from store shelves to the tables of families in need - often in less than 24 hours.
"We are extremely grateful that the Walmart Foundation is continuing to make a strong commitment to help feed millions of Americans who live at risk of hunger," said Vicki Escarra, president and chief executive officer of Feeding America. "Walmart's store donation program is helping to provide our members across the country with a variety of nutritious food, which is especially needed at a time when so many Americans are struggling to provide for their families."
The Walmart Foundation will also continue supporting hunger relief organizations at the state and local levels. This summer, more than $2.1 million will be donated to Meals on Wheels programs, food banks and other hunger-focused organizations in 21 states via the Walmart Foundation State Giving Councils. On behalf of local Walmart stores, the Walmart Foundation has also contributed more than $1.3 million since January towards the fight against hunger in communities nationwide.
Additionally, on the heels of President Obama's recent announcement of the "United We Serve" summer service initiative, Walmart and Sam's Club associates in the U.S. are being encouraged to make community service a part of their daily lives. The company's internal Web site, mywalmart.com, helps associates find local volunteer opportunities; and the Walmart Foundation's Volunteerism Always Pays (VAP) program awards grant dollars to qualifying hunger relief organizations, among others, in recognition of associate volunteer hours. The Walmart Foundation anticipates associates will log more than 1.5 million volunteer hours this fiscal year and expects to award more than $9 million in VAP grants.
About Philanthropy at Walmart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on creating opportunities in education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From February 1, 2008 through January 31, 2009, Walmart - and its domestic and international Foundations - gave more than $423 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.
About Boys & Girls Club of America (www.BGCA.org)
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) has helped kids "Be Great," providing hope and opportunity for those who need it most. Today, more than 4,300 Clubs serve some 4.5 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Known as The Positive Place for Kids, Boys & Girls Clubs can be found throughout the country and on U.S. military bases worldwide, providing young people 6-18 years old with guidance-oriented character development programs conducted by trained, professional staff. Clubs positively impact lives and help young people reach their full potential as productive, caring citizens. Key programs emphasize leadership development; education and career exploration; community service; technology training; financial literacy; health and life skills; the arts; sports, fitness and recreation; and family outreach. In a recent Harris Survey of Club alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.
About Feeding America
Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 25 million Americans each year, including 9 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks support 63,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit www.feedingamerica.org.