BENTONVILLE, Ark., September 6, 2006 – This week, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and America’s Second Harvest—The Nation’s Food Bank Network (A2H), kick off the delivery of nearly 7.5 million meals to those in need through a month-long series of regional events taking place at local food banks nationwide. Throughout the month of September, more than 400 semi-trucks, each filled with nutritious, protein-rich food, will be delivered to local food banks to help fight hunger in the United States. As part of this effort, Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB associates nationwide will partner with America’s Second Harvest Member food banks to assist with the delivery and distribution of food to their communities.
The food delivery is a direct result of the $8.7 million donated and raised on behalf of the America’s Second Harvest Network through Wal-Mart Stores and SAM’S CLUB locations nationwide last spring. Last March, Wal-Mart and the America’s Second Harvest Network partnered to increase awareness of domestic hunger and help raise funds by asking customers and associates at all 3,800 Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB locations to donate cash at any store or CLUB. At the culmination of the fundraising effort, $3.7 million was raised and the Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB Foundation donated an additional $5 million. Of the total raised and donated, $7.2 million will be used toward the purchase and distribution of protein-rich foods to individuals in need through America’s Second Harvest Member food banks.
“Wal-Mart’s commitment to give back to the communities it serves is shared by our associates and customers. We are proud that the generous contributions of our associates and customers will touch the lives of individuals who may have otherwise gone without food,” said Ray Bracy, vice president of corporate affairs, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “I would also like to recognize and thank all of our associates who continue to assist those in need in communities throughout America by participating in the delivery of food to their local A2H food banks.”
Aiming to improve the nutritional mix of food distributed to clients, Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB helped augment A2H’s Food Solicitation and Distribution Program and provide healthier options—fresh produce, protein and whole wheat—to the millions of Americans relying on food banks throughout the country. These food items are among those least donated and most difficult to distribute, due to its perishable nature.
“Wal-Mart’s support has been a tremendous step forward in helping us to continue feeding the 25 million Americans our Network serves each year. We are profoundly grateful for this partnership and the efforts of Wal-Mart, SAM’S CLUB and their associates and customers, for being part of the solution to end hunger in America,” said Vicki Escarra, president and chief executive officer of the America’s Second Harvest Network.
In addition to food donations and deliveries to local food banks, nearly $1.5 million of the $8.7 million raised will be used for the America’s Second Harvest Network’s national BackPack Program, which enables children at risk of hunger to bring home nutritious food for the weekends and during school vacations. Select food banks will receive grants of $20,000-$35,000 to be used to purchase food and supplies for the program. Through Wal-Mart’s donation, many new food bank recipients will participate in this program for the first time. Recipients of BackPack Program will be announced in late September once children have returned to school.
The Wal-Mart and America’s Second Harvest Network partnership is the result of the alarming news recently released in the 2006 Hunger in America study, which found that more than 25 million Americans, including 9 million children and nearly 3 million seniors, request emergency food assistance from one of the 50,000 agencies served by an America’s Second Harvest Network Member food bank. This represents an 8 percent increase since the last study, which was conducted in 2001. The partnership is also an extension of the relationship established during Hurricane Katrina response and relief efforts.
About America’s Second Harvest – The Nation’s Food Bank Network is the largest charitable domestic hunger-relief organization in the country with a Network of more than 200 Member food banks and food - rescue programs serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The America’s Second Harvest Network secures and distributes more than 2 billion pounds of donated food and grocery products annually; and supports approximately 50,000 local charitable agencies operating more than 94,000 programs, including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after-school programs, and Kids Cafes. Last year, the America’s Second Harvest Network provided food assistance to more than 25 million low-income hungry people in the United States, including 9 million children and nearly 3 million seniors. For more on America’s Second Harvest, please visit www.secondharvest.org.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart discount stores, supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM’S CLUB locations in the United States. The company has operations in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom. The company’s securities are listed on the New York Stock Exchange and NYSE Arca, formerly the Pacific Stock Exchange, under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com.
More information about Wal-Mart’s charitable giving or other Foundation programs can be found at www.walmartfoundation.org.