This month, Walmart and 10 of the most recognizable food companies in America embark on the third chapter of the Fighting Hunger Together initiative focused on reducing hunger across the nation. Walmart and leading grocery suppliers, including Campbell's Soup, ConAgra Foods, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, General Mills, Kraft Foods Group, Kellogg Company, Mondelez International, Nestle USA, PepsiCo and Unilever, have joined forces to engage millions of customers and Walmart associates this spring and bring much needed food and funding to nonprofit organizations that work to fight hunger.
According to the latest data from the USDA, more than 50 million Americans live in food insecure households, and more than 16 million of those impacted are children. To address this issue, the Fighting Hunger Together initiative will partner with Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger relief charity, to deliver $3 million in grants for hunger programs and generate more than 35 million meals for local Feeding America food banks and their partner agencies across the US.
"An astonishing 1 in 5 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," says Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Walmart Foundation. "With this initiative, we are working to help families across the US 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."
The public will have the opportunity to join the fight against hunger and help distribute grants to local communities across the country. Ways to participate include:
Vote – Customers and Walmart associates can visit www.walmart.com/hunger and cast one vote per day for a Feeding America food bank or partner agency in local communities across the country. The winning 100 organizations, which will be announced in May, will share $3 million in grants to fund hunger relief programs.
Volunteer – Customers and associates can pledge to volunteer at their local food bank by visiting www.walmart.com/hunger.
In addition, from April 1 through August 31, Walmart associates can volunteer at food banks and other hunger relief organizations and compete for a chance to select an organization in their community to receive a $5,000 grant, as part of Volunteerism Goes Viral.
"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," says Bob Aiken, president and CEO of Feeding America. "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 afterschool and summer feeding programs and classes that teach families how to prepare healthy meals at home."
Internationally recognized child expert, author and speaker, Dr. Michele Borba, has also teamed up with Walmart to help fight hunger this spring. Dr. Borba offers expert insight on hunger in the US and how it is impacting children and families nationwide.
"The issue of hunger in America is very real and the effect it has on the psychological and physical development of children is significant," says Dr. Michele Borba, renowned children's health and development expert and award-winning author of 22 parenting and educational books, including Parents Do Make a Difference. "Not having enough to eat makes it difficult for children to learn and grow, and puts additional stress on families. Efforts to decrease the number of children going without meals are imperative and will have a lasting impact on our nation's future."
In local communities this April, Walmart alongside key suppliers will host "Stuff the Truck" food drive events to create an immediate impact to combat hunger. Country music star, Thomas Rhett, will attend a food drive hosted by Walmart and General Mills to help the cause. Key suppliers are also showing their support for the initiative at the 48th American Country Music Awards this April. During the awards, the performers will engage with fans and share information about the importance of fighting hunger together.
The Fighting Hunger Together initiative is part of Walmart's and the Walmart Foundation's $2 billion commitment through 2015 to fight hunger. As a part of this commitment, Walmart and its Foundation pledged to donate more than 1.1 billion lbs of food from Walmart stores, distribution centers and Sam's Club locations, valued at $1.75 billion, as well as $250 million in grants from the Walmart Foundation to support hunger relief organizations.