BENTONVILLE, Ark.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The holidays are a time of giving, but they are also a time of great need. Food insecurity continues to plague families and individuals across the country, with an estimated 1 in 6 people at risk of hunger as a result of COVID-19. This is compared to a pre-pandemic number of 1 in 9 struggling with food insecurity, according to Feeding America®, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. As a result, food banks and pantries are having difficulties keeping up with demand. To help organizations meet this increased demand during the holidays and beyond, the Walmart Foundation is granting Feeding America $12 million over two years. Walmart is also encouraging its stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centers in the U.S. to commit funds and to continue to make product donations to hunger-relief organizations through the end of the year.
The Walmart Foundation grant to Feeding America will support critical work that aims to reduce barriers and increase access to food assistance for people facing hunger, including expanding Order Ahead, the organization’s click and collect app, which enables food insecure neighbors to order food from a food bank or partner organization and pick it up at a convenient location, drive-thru, home delivery or locker. The grant will also provide significant capacity investments for several member food banks to increase the amount of food they are able to source and distribute to people in need in their communities, as well as support digital ads and one-on-one application assistance for those in need of benefits and resources.
“Hunger affects people in every community across the country. The Feeding America nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 pantries and meal programs works hard every day to help our neighbors who face hunger, especially during this time of crisis,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America. “We are tremendously grateful to Walmart and the Walmart Foundation for their generous support and their long-standing commitment to fighting hunger in every community across the country. Their support has been transformational for the fight to end hunger.”
In Walmart’s work to use its business strengths alongside philanthropy in fighting food insecurity, stores, clubs and distribution centers across the U.S. were encouraged earlier this week to appoint a hunger champion to help coordinate holiday hunger relief efforts. Associates are reaching out to local nonprofits to assess their needs and learn how the company can best meet the demand. Many Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs have already been helping organizations fight the battle against hunger in their communities this holiday season.
In Longview, Washington, for example, Walmart supports Food for Change, a local community organization co-founded by a Walmart associate. Food for Change is helping provide 500 meals to those in need this month. And in Bend, Oregon Walmart associates and a local Rotary Club worked to support 683 families through a store grant and product donations during the week of Thanksgiving.
Kirsten Twiss, store manager of the Walmart Supercenter in Bend, said, “Food banks in Oregon have been stretched thin during the ongoing pandemic. We teamed up with the local Rotary Club and The Giving Plate, a local food pantry, to help. We’re going through this together, so we can all help each other together.”
For years, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have supported hunger-relief organizations, and this year is no different. Since Feb. 1 of this year, more than 5,000 hunger-relief organizations have received support from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation through the donation of 480 million pounds of food and over $55 million in grants for hunger relief. Complemented by these efforts, Walmart customers, Sam’s Club members and suppliers have raised nearly $18 million for hunger relief.
And with this end-of-the-year push to support hunger-based organizations through grants or product donations, Walmart seeks to bend the curve on hunger even further, especially during the holidays.
Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, over 265 million customers and members visit approximately 11,400 stores under 55 banners in 26 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2020 revenue of $524 billion, Walmart employs over 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting https://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at https://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/walmart.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart.org represents the philanthropic efforts of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. By leaning in where the business has unique strengths, Walmart.org works to tackle key social issues and collaborate with others to spark long-lasting systemic change. Walmart has stores in 27 countries, employs more than 2 million associates and does business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Walmart.org is helping people live better by supporting programs that work to accelerate upward job mobility for frontline workers, address hunger and make healthier, more sustainably grown food a reality, and build strong communities where Walmart operates. To learn more, visit www.walmart.org or connect on Twitter @Walmartorg.