Kudos to Walmart for its fight against hunger

For all the grief that Walmart receives for being the big, bad neighbor that drives out smaller competitors, there is no doubt the company is not all Grinch – especially during the holiday season.

What probably flew under the radar was the announcement last week of a $32 million Holiday Giving Campaign to fight hunger. A key initiative of that plan is the donation of 35 refrigerator trucks to 35 different Feeding America food banks in major cities across the country. Each truck came loaded with Great Value-branded products and fresh apples. The total cost of the donated trucks is $3 milllion. To see a video about the donation, click here.

"In this economy, families and seniors across the country who rely on food banks have been hit especially hard,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “As Walmart stores continue to be the price leader on groceries, our partnership with Feeding America is helping us do our part to put more food on the dinner table. Our business and our charitable giving are united in the commitment to eradicate hunger in America.”

Feeding America estimates the trucks will transport up to 52.5 million pounds of food year, the equivalent of 41 million additional meals. That will take a bite out of hunger.

But for some of the local organizations, that one truck means it can double the number of meals it provides. A story in the Victoria Advocate in Texas reports on how much the one truck means for the tiny food bank. According to the story, the food bank is expanding its retail store donations program and starting a mobile food pantry program, but with only one truck before, the success of those programs was likely going to be limited.

“This will help us double, maybe triple, our retail store pickups," Dennis Brown, executive director of the Food Bank of the Gold Crescent, told the paper. “That means during the next three to five years, another million pounds of food we can distribute in the Victoria area.”

“With more than 90 million pounds of food donated to Feeding America’s network of food banks, Walmart is Feeding America’s top corporate partner in the fight against hunger,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. “These 35 new refrigerated trucks are critical to the food banks and will make an enormous impact in allowing the safe transport of nutritious food to millions of people in need around the country. No American should go hungry, and we are proud to partner with Walmart and fight to end domestic hunger.”

For more information on Walmart’s charitable endeavors, including its fight against hunger, visit Walmart's web site.