All across America, kids are heading back to school. Most kids have their bags ready, supplies bought and have a warm and filling breakfast waiting for them before they head off to their big first day. But there are many kids in our local communities that don’t have this. According to the USDA, as many as 42.2 million people in America, including more than 13.1 million children, lived in households that are at risk of struggling with hunger. These are the kids that are relying for free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs to often provide the only meals they’ll have during the day.
Thankfully there are corporations out there that step up and are willing to help fight this monumental problem facing our communities. Walmart and The Walmart Foundation is working to fight hunger by giving grants to local agencies that are helping to get fresh and healthy food to people in all communities. This year, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation grants will provide nearly 57 million meals to support nearly 1.5 million people in communities across the country. These programs will help to provide year-long meals, breakfast in the classroom, nutrition education and increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables through nutrition assistance programs to the families that need it the most.
Walmart is helping to support local organizations that are fighting hunger in ways that will create long-term positive changes to families, like providing meal programs, offering nutrition education, and increasing access to fruits and vegetables. This year, they have awarded 11 grants totaling $33 million to national nonprofits across the country!
Some of the great programs they have funded are:
- Chef Ann Foundation (http://www.chefannfoundation.org): $350,000 grant provides 101 grants to help schools increase fresh fruit and vegetable procurement, increase participation in the Department of Defense’s Fruit and Vegetable program at 50 schools and provide at least six hours of nutrition education and fruit and vegetable tastings to 35,000 children.
- National League of Cities (http://www.nlc.org): $2 million grant to fund year-long meal programs that will provide 2.5 million year-long meals to 32,000 school-aged children across the U.S. by leveraging the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Summer Food Service Program.
- National Recreation & Park Association (http://www.nrpa.org): $2.5 million grant to provide 18 million meals to 600,000 children and nutrition education to 150,000 children through its local park and recreation agencies.
- Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom (http://breakfastintheclassroom.org): $7.5 million grant providing funding to support 10.8 million federally reimbursed school breakfast meals through an expansion of the consortium’s state-based universal breakfast strategy.
- Share Our Strength (https://www.nokidhungry.org): $5.75 million grant to provide eight-week cooking courses and Cooking Matters at the Store shopping tours to 153,000 participants and to create and pilot a self-guided nutrition education application that aims to serve 25,000 people.
In addition, they have given grants to the YMCA, the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Children’s Hunger Alliance. Together, these organizations can help get food to millions of families that need it most.
Walmart’s commitment to hunger is HUGE, pledging to provide four billion meals to those who need them between 2015 and 2020. They are planning to reach this goal through a combination of grants to charitable organizations and hunger relief programs, as well as through food donations from their Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs and other distribution centers. As the nation’s largest grocer, Walmart is uniquely positioned to lead on the issue of hunger in the U.S and it’s so great that they are using their position in the corporate world to help make positive changes.