May 12, 2010

Today, Feeding America was named by our partners at Walmart as one of the recipients of a $2 billion commitment over five years to fighting domestic hunger through Walmart's"Fighting Hunger Together" initiative. We are genuinely thankful to Walmart for this sustained commitment to fighting domestic hunger with steadfast adherence to principled charitable giving.

Walmart has been a dedicated partner of Feeding America since 2005. Just last month, Walmart was named Feeding America's 2010 Donor of the Year for outstanding donations of food, funds and vehicles during 2009. Walmart and Sam's Club are the largest donor we have involved in the Store Donation Program, which enables our food banks to rescue products from local retailers. Walmart and Sam's Club stores currently account for 40 percent of the program.

Food donations from Walmart and Sam's Club last year totaled more than 116 million pounds of food, the largest-ever annual food donation to Feeding America in our organization's history. In fact, Walmart was the first Feeding America donor to surpass the 100-million pound mark over the course of a year.

Nutritious, protein-rich food like meat and dairy are the most expensive and difficult for our clients to obtain, and we are committed to providing the healthiest foods to those who need it more than ever. Our partnership with Walmart continues to be instrumental in doing so, as Walmart's support of Feeding America has included both donations of the healthiest products and vehicles that are critical in the safe, secure transport of these items.

Last fall, Walmart donated 35 brand new refrigerated trucks to Feeding America food banks in 24 states. These vehicles are more than trucks; they are truly lifelines for millions of people in need and will allow for the safe and frequent transport of the healthiest products available. This week, we learned that Walmart's $2 billion grant will include $250 million in cash grants to Feeding America and other charitable organizations, in addition to the cash value of food donations to Feeding America's network of food banks. Feeding America will be the first recipient of a cash grant from Walmart. The grant will be $6 million and will provide 60 more brand new refrigerated trucks to food banks across the nation which supports our network in building capacity for these nutritious, critical items.

With 49 million Americans struggling with hunger, our country is in crisis. Walmart's outstanding multi-year commitment helps give Feeding America and our network of more than 200 food banks the latitude to more effectively serve the 37 million people who turn to us for assistance every year.

Sadly, hunger is not an abstract concept in America. The staggering reality is that 1 in 6 people in our country don't know where their next meal is going to come from on any given day. Hunger exists in all of our communities, even if we can't always see it. People across the nation are being forced to make tough decisions – choosing between paying for dinner for their families or paying medical bills, utilities, and even rent. We know that those hit the hardest by our economy's downturn face the longest and steepest uphill battle to financial recovery. Thanks to the long-term, ongoing support of our partners like Walmart, Feeding America will continue to lead the fight against domestic hunger, a fight we cannot win alone.

No American should go hungry. We thank Walmart for supporting our mission for a hunger-free America.

Vicki Escarra
President & CEO, Feeding America


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