BENTONVILLE, Ark., Nov. 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Today, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation kicked-off “Walmart Gives Back,” a holiday giving initiative that will provide $32 million in monetary and in-kind donations to charitable organizations across the U.S. Executives from Feeding America and Meals On Wheels joined Walmart to launch the historic campaign by sending off a convoy of 35 trucks donated by the Walmart Foundation.
Valued at $3 million and loaded with Great Value-branded products and fresh apples, the new refrigerator trucks will arrive at Feeding America food banks in Miami, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Boston, Memphis and 30 other communities in time for Thanksgiving. Feeding America estimates that these refrigerator trucks will enable the food banks to transport up to 52.5 million pounds of food, the equivalent of 41 million additional meals, per year.
“In this economy, families and seniors across the country who rely on food banks have been hit especially hard,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “As Walmart stores continue to be the price leader on groceries, our partnership with Feeding America is helping us do our part to put more food on the dinner table. Our business and our charitable giving are united in the commitment to eradicate hunger in America.”
The donated refrigerator trucks are the Walmart Foundation’s response to a call from food banks that were unable to safely transport nutritious produce, deli meat, beef, chicken, dairy and other nutritious food donated from Walmart stores and other grocers. Since last November, Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations have donated more than 90 million pounds of food – the equivalent of 70 million meals – to Feeding America food banks, exceeding the company’s goal and making Walmart Feeding America’s largest food donor.
“With more than 90 million pounds of food donated to Feeding America’s network of food banks, Walmart is Feeding America’s top corporate partner in the fight against hunger,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. “These 35 new refrigerated trucks are critical to the food banks and will make an enormous impact in allowing the safe transport of nutritious food to millions of people in need around the country. No American should go hungry, and we are proud to partner with Walmart and fight to end domestic hunger.”
In addition, the Walmart Foundation announced today a $2.2 million grant to Meals On Wheels Association of America. Through this funding, 140 Meals On Wheels programs across the nation will upgrade or replace delivery vehicles, stoves, refrigerators and freezers. These improvements will help increase the number of meals provided to the one in nine seniors facing the threat of hunger.
“When people think of hunger in the United States the elderly do not come to mind. The reality is, though, that hundreds of thousands of our country’s seniors are going to bed hungry right now. Those are our mothers, our fathers, our veterans, the people who raised us,” said Enid Borden, president and CEO of Meals On Wheels Association of America. “We are thankful that the Walmart Foundation understands that senior hunger is a major problem and can be eradicated. I applaud Walmart for stepping up to the plate, once again, to help us deliver the next meal so no senior goes hungry.”
As in years past, the majority of Walmart’s holiday giving will happen at the local level with more than $24 million donated from the Walmart Foundation to nonprofits in the communities where Walmart’s 4,000 stores and clubs are located. In addition, the Walmart Foundation will, once again, donate $1.25 million to The Salvation Army and Red Kettles will fundraise at Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations nationwide from Friday, Nov. 27 through Thursday, Dec. 24.