The anti-hunger movement got some major backing today when representatives from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation, The Band Perry, Kimberly Williams-Paisley and four of the nation’s largest food companies — General Mills, ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods and Kellogg Company — announced they have come together to fight hunger this spring.
At an event in Nashville, leaders of this effort launched a campaign that will enable millions of Americans the opportunity to get involved by shopping at Walmart or visiting the company’s Facebook page today through April 30.
Spring traditionally brings a decrease in donations to food banks, leaving them unable to meet the needs of nearly 49 million Americans who at some point this year will be uncertain where their next meal will come from. To help bridge this gap, Walmart is inviting customers to visit one of its 3,854 Walmart stores and Neighborhood Markets nationwide and purchase products from participating suppliers that will help provide meals to families struggling with hunger. In-store signs will help direct customers to participating products and on-package labels will advise customers how to generate meals by entering product codes online, sharing a hashtag on Twitter or scanning a QR code.
“Hunger is a defining issue for America as millions struggle to put food on the table every day. Helping fight hunger is something our associates, customers and supplier partners believe in and together we can help make a positive impact on this issue,” said Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of Walmart’s U.S. grocery business. “Simply by going into a Walmart store or going online, every consumer in America has the opportunity to join this effort.”
Through this effort, more than 42 million meals will be donated to Feeding America food banks and Action for Healthy Kids.
Customers can also visit Walmart’s Facebook page to vote for one of 200 communities hardest hit by unemployment. The community with the most votes will receive $1 million to help fight hunger. The next 20 communities will each receive $50,000 for hunger relief. The Facebook campaign will also provide information on how users can donate or volunteer with hunger fighting organizations in their local communities.
“No one in America should go hungry and we are proud to partner with Walmart in this effort,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. “Through this program, Walmart and its partners are making a powerful impact that will not only address hunger this spring, but will have a lasting effect on the issue of hunger in America.”
As the nation’s largest grocer and largest retailer, Walmart is uniquely positioned to help end hunger in America. In 2010, the company committed $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger. As a part of this commitment, Walmart 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, as well as $250 million in grants to support hunger relief organizations.
The company is also lending its expertise to help food banks operate more efficiently. Thus far, Walmart has contributed more than 594 million pounds of food and $122 million in grants to hunger relief programs.