BENTONVILLE, Ark., November 14, 2006 – Through a nearly $1.5 million donation from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) for its national BackPack Program, America’s Second Harvest—The Nation’s Food Bank Network will deliver backpacks filled with nutritious, protein-rich food to school children in need. Local food banks nationwide will receive grants for its program during a series of regional events. As part of this announcement, America’s Second Harvest Network employees and members of the community will volunteer at local food banks to assist with stuffing backpacks for local school children.
These funds will be used to purchase food and supplies for the program, allowing children to bring home nutritious food when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations. As a result, America’s Second Harvest will be able to further expand its BackPack Program, which is the fastest growing national program within the Network, experiencing a nearly 100 percent growth last year alone. Currently there are more than 110 America’s Second Harvest Network Members operating BackPack Programs in 39 states and Washington, D.C. Nationally, Network Members distribute as many as 35,000 backpacks each week.
“Through our BackPack program, nationally, we distribute thousands of backpacks filled with much needed food for school children to take home every week. Wal-Mart’s support and contribution will not only allow our program to expand, but also make a meaningful difference by enabling our member agencies to provide more than 890,000 backpacks to children in need nationwide,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of America’s Second Harvest. “We are proud to partner with Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club and are most grateful for the generous donations from its associates and customers.”
As part of the BackPack Program, backpacks will be filled with child-friendly, nonperishable, easily consumed and vitamin-fortified food and then discreetly distributed to children to take home on weekends or holidays. In addition to providing nutritious food to school children in need, some BackPack Programs provide extra food for younger siblings at home and other programs operate during the summer months when children are out of school and have limited access to free or reduced-priced meals.
“At Wal-Mart, we strive to assist the communities we serve the best way we possibly can. Hunger in America continues to be on the rise and this year we were proud to be a part of the solution to address this problem. We hope to make a difference in the lives of our customers and neighbors,” said Ray Bracy, vice president of Corporate Affairs. “Through the generosity of our associates and customers, children in need across the country who may have otherwise gone without food, will have access to nutritious food while outside of school.”
In March 2006, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club partnered with the America’s Second Harvest Network to help raise funds and build awareness around the solvable problem of hunger in America through the “Be A Part Of The Solution To End Hunger” campaign. The in–store promotion, featured at the more than 3,800 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations nationwide, encouraged customers to purchase a “piece of the solution to end hunger” puzzle piece at check-out, raising $3.7 million. The Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club Foundation donated an additional $5 million, totaling $8.7 million.
Nearly $1.5 million of the $8.7 million raised will be used toward the Network’s BackPack Program, providing select Member food banks nationwide with grants to purchase food and supplies for the program. Through Wal-Mart’s donation, 24 new food bank recipients will participate in this program for the first time. In September, America’s Second Harvest announced that $7.2 million of the total funds raised and donated would be used for the organization’s purchased food program. This program provides food banks and food-rescue organizations with the highest-demand foods, including protein and produce, which are critical to helping provide nutritionally balanced meals for low-income Americans.
Hunger affects even the least likely of victims, including adults, who are caring for a family member, hard working families with children who have experienced a sudden job loss, and seniors living on a fixed income who must choose between food and medicine. People nationwide can continue to be a part of the solution to end hunger in their community by supporting their local America’s Second Harvest Member food bank and the agencies it serves throughout the year.
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. (NYSE: WMT) – Every week, more than 176 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, Sam’s Clubs or a subsidiary location in 15 countries around the world. In each of the countries where Wal-Mart operates, the company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of operating globally and giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to these local communities.
To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmartstores.com or www.walmartfoundation.org.