Walmart customers, Feeding America® and local food banks across the nation helped secure a record 230 million meals for food insecure households as part of their fifth annual “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign during the month of April.
“Because of the generous support of our suppliers, customers and associates, food banks will be able to do even more this year to help families who are struggling,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “We are passionate about fighting hunger, and through this campaign, we have taken another significant step to breaking down the barriers that prevent families from enjoying ready access to healthier, nutritious food.”
Feeding America and Walmart have worked together for over a decade, and partnered on Fight Hunger. Spark Change. for five years. With the help of suppliers, Synchrony Bank, customers, and other partners, more than $23 million was raised to support Feeding America and the network of 200 member food banks it serves. The money is used by each local food bank to better serve the community and those who are food insecure. Over the last five years, the campaign has raised more than $74 million to fight hunger.
“Year after year, we are blown away by the tremendous efforts put forth by Walmart through the Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign and this year exceeded our expectations,” said Matt Knott, President of Feeding America. “Hunger touches every community in the U.S. We know what a tremendous impact these 230 million meals will make for food banks across the country and the families they serve. Thank you to Walmart, its customers, suppliers and Synchrony Bank for your support.”
During this year’s campaign, Walmart and Feeding America collaborated with Nextdoor, a private social media network active in 170,000 neighborhoods nationwide. Nextdoor invited community leaders, city officials, local chefs, the local food bank, journalists and area neighbors to come together around handcrafted tables made by Neighbor’s Table. The table remained as a gift in the community from Neighbor’s Table, so neighbors can continue to discuss how to best combat hunger locally. Following the community gatherings, members of each community were invited to learn more about ways they could help their local food bank.
“It has truly been inspiring to travel across the country with Walmart to raise awareness around the magnitude of America’s hunger crisis and the power of sparking change locally,” said Nextdoor Co-founder and CEO Nirav Tolia. “We, at Nextdoor, are committed to helping neighbors come together to build stronger communities, and are grateful for the remarkable work that Walmart has done to help local food banks serve neighbors in need. We know that we likely won’t solve this problem today, or even this year, but, as we have witnessed over the last few weeks, bringing neighbors and influencers together in local communities can make a real difference.”
As the nation’s largest grocer, Walmart is in a unique leadership position to positively impact the issue of hunger in the United States. In October 2014, Walmart announced a commitment to create a more sustainable food system, with a focus on improving the affordability of food by lowering the “true cost” of food for both customers and the environment, increasing access to food, making healthier eating easier, and improving the safety and transparency of the food chain. This commitment includes a goal of providing 4 billion meals to those struggling with hunger in the U.S. by 2020.