On September 4, 2015, Walmart announced that the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana has received $64,256.26 from two charitable campaigns over the last three months. Northwest Indiana residents generated a total of $21,356.26, for the food bank through Walmart’s Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign and another $43,000 was donated by Walmart to support the expansion of the Food Bank’s BackPack program. The Food Bank will add an additional 300 students to the program in the 2015-2016 school year. Walmart associates gathered today to volunteer at the Food Bank’s mobile distribution, Mobile Market, in Porter County and to present the organization with a check.
“Volunteering in the local community is a priority for all of our Walmart associates,” said local Walmart Manager Janette Ferrera. “We are proud to be involved with the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana and proud that our team continues to give back to local Hoosiers.”
The Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign offered customers the opportunity to help fight hunger from April 6 to May 3, 2015 by making a donation to their local Feeding America food bank at a Walmart register, or purchasing select products from some of the nation’s leading food companies: Campbell’s, ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Kraft, and Unilever. In addition, the public participated in the #WeSparkChange social media challenge. Customers were asked to take a picture of six friends who share their commitment to fight hunger and post a public picture on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #WeSparkChange. For each post, Walmart donated $10 to Feeding America on behalf of its affiliate food banks.
In addition to the money raised through the Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign, the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana was awarded a state giving grant from the Walmart Foundation in the amount of $43,000, which the food bank intends to use in support of the BackPack Program, a hunger-relief program that serves students (take-home) weekend meals throughout the school year.
“The Food Bank’s BackPack Program has grown significantly since its inception; this year we are excited to be serving more than 600 students throughout northwest Indiana. The program wouldn’t be possible without the support of organizations throughout Lake and Porter counties as well as through Foundations like Walmart,” said Arleen Peterson, Executive Director for the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana.
Hunger is a nationwide problem with local implications in every community across the United States. One in six people in America will struggle with hunger at some point during the year, according to the USDA. Feeding America estimates over 380,000 children in Indiana are food insecure.
“We take pride in giving back to local communities and empowering residents to support their neighbors in need.” said Karrie Dennison, Director of Hunger and Nutrition for Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. “With 49 million Americans struggling with hunger today, we are dedicated to helping families access affordable, nutritious and sustainably grown food. With the support of our customers, associates and Feeding America, we will continue our work to help every family have access to the food they need.”
The Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign and state giving grants are just two of Walmart’s many efforts to provide meals to those in need, helping ensure every family has access to affordable, nutritious and sustainably grown food. As the nation’s largest grocer, Walmart is in a unique leadership position to help impact the issue of hunger in the United States. Last year, 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 four billion meals to those in need in the U.S. over the next five years.