food-bank-mobile-walmart-truck.jpgTo help ease a growing hunger problem in the U.S., Wal-Mart announced yesterday that it will donate $2 billion in food and grants to food banks and hunger relief organizations across America.

As part of the new five-year initiative, “Fighting Hunger Together,” Walmart will donate $1.75 billion worth of food from Walmart stores, warehouses and Sam’s Club outlets. It also plans to give $250 million in grants to support hunger relief organizations, including 10 million for children’s lunch programs during the school year and summer months.

A $6 million grant will purchase 60 refrigerated trucks for Feeding America food banks to help ensure that food banks can safely transport donations, as well as delivering directly to low income neighborhoods that lack access to food pantries. Walmart has previously donated 69 trucks.

Walmart’s logistics team will also lend their expertise to help food banks become more efficient in their operations.

According to a November 2009 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, hunger rates in the U.S. are the highest since 1995 with nearly 15 percent of households lacking access to an adequate supply of nutritious food. Walmart’s cash and gifts of more than 1.1 billion pounds of fresh produce, meat, and dairy will provide more than 1 billion meals to these needy families.

“Increasingly, we see opportunities to use our scale and reach to solve challenges in our communities. This is one of those times,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, Walmart’s vice chairman. “By working together, we believe we can reach a day where no individual in this country has to go to bed hungry or worry if there will be food to put on the table tomorrow.”

Photo: The Central Virginia Mobile Food Pantry in Richmond, Virginia goes mobile delivering food directly to low income neighborhoods that lack access to food pantries several times each month, using a 
truck donated by Walmart.

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