Increasing Food Access During COVID-19
As one of the world’s largest grocers, we have long been committed to supporting access to food – whether through our everyday low prices or donations to local food banks. As the pandemic spread across the U.S. in March, customer purchasing behaviors changed, focusing on shelf-stable items as many prepared for sheltering at home. This behavior change coupled with honoring buying commitments with our fresh suppliers resulted in an unusual surplus of produce. Taking advantage of this surplus to meet the increased demand for food assistance around the country, Walmart and Sam’s Club quickly jumped into action, sending truckloads of food from our distribution centers (DCs) to food banks and other organizations in need.
In April, in addition to our regular food donations, Walmart donated 85 truckloads of food to organizations helping feed individuals and families during the crisis. And, Sam’s Club donated more than 84,000 pounds of produce to support health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak. Walmart and Sam’s Club donation efforts continue today.
But to say we just dropped off truckloads of food does not do justice to the incredible efforts of our associates across Walmart and Sam’s Club, or to the food bank community that has made this possible. You see, coordinating an effort of this scale takes significant planning and a lot of folks moving fast to make it happen.
How We Work: Partnerships and Planning Get Food Where It’s Needed
Associates are working in every part of our business, from stores, clubs, distribution centers and our global headquarters, to help get food where it’s needed. These incredible efforts start with our supply chain team that works closely with our DCs to identify food available for donation and coordinate both inside and outside of Walmart to get it to organizations for distribution. Because much of this food is produce and other perishable foods, time is of the essence to get this food to the organizations that can distribute it to people in need.
The Walmart team works closely with Feeding America®, a nationwide network of 200 local food banks, to quickly identify member food banks and other organizations on the front lines who can use the donations to help feed people in need. Our transportation team delivers the donated food to the organizations across the country. Our truck drivers, along with all our associates involved in these efforts, could not be prouder to serve their communities.