CHICAGO, Ill., Sept. 13, 2007 – America’s Second Harvest – The Nation’s Food Bank Network today announced that it has received $4 million from the Wal-Mart Foundation to support the organization’s BackPack Program as well as other initiatives to help feed hungry Americans. Wal-Mart first partnered with America’s Second Harvest in 2005 to assist with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Since that time the company has contributed and helped to raise nearly $15 million for America’s Second Harvest food banks.
“At Wal-Mart, we work to assist the communities we serve the best way we can,” said Margaret McKenna, President of the Wal-Mart Foundation. “Through our partnership with America’s Second Harvest, we are feeding individuals and families in need in our communities all across America. Over the years, our customers and associates have shown they are passionate about supporting food banks, and we at Wal-Mart are proud to assist them.”
The America’s Second Harvest BackPack Program is an ongoing effort to provide food to at-risk children on weekends and out-of-school periods when federal breakfast and lunch programs are not available. Backpacks, filled with nonperishable and easily prepared food, are filled and discreetly distributed to children on the last day before the weekend or holiday vacation.
Thanks to a portion of Wal-Mart’s $4 million contribution, select food banks will receive grants to be used to purchase food and supplies for the program. Wal-Mart began supporting the BackPack Program in 2006, and with a contribution of nearly $1.5 million, 24 food banks were able to participate for the first time and 33 additional food banks received grants to expand their existing BackPack programs. As a result, 492,000 backpacks filled with approximately 3 million pounds of food were distributed to hungry children.
“We are delighted that Wal-Mart has made such an incredible commitment to ending hunger in America, and we are proud to count them among our strongest supporters,” said Vicki Escarra, President and CEO of America’s Second Harvest. “Expanding food distribution and feeding more children among our most critical priorities. Wal-Mart’s recent contributions will have a tremendous effect on the lives of thousands of Americans living with chronic food insecurity.”
The BackPack Program currently operates in 40 states and Washington, D.C., and currently provides backpacks to approximately 50,000 children each week. In addition to the BackPack Program, Wal-Mart’s donation to America’s Second Harvest will also be used to support nutritious food and produce programs, transportation to deliver items to food banks, and the expansion of the organization’s existing store pick-up program.
Wal-Mart and America’s Second Harvest have been named as finalists for a Corporate Citizenship Award, sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC), for their efforts to fight hunger in America. The winner of the 2007 Partnership Award will be selected by public vote. To learn more about this partnership, and to submit votes, visit www.uschamber.com/bclc/awards by October 5.
About America’s Second Harvest
America’s Second Harvest — The Nation’s Food Bank Network is the largest charitable domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through its network of more than 200 member food banks, America’s Second Harvest annually provides assistance to more than 25 million people in need, including 9 million children and 3 million seniors in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each year, America’s Second Harvest secures and distributes more than 2 billion pounds of food and grocery products to support feeding programs at approximately 50,000 local charitable agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after-school programs, and Kids Cafes. To learn more, please visit www.secondharvest.org.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, millions of customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store at www.walmart.com. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of 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 local communities in the United States. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmartstores.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.