The FINANCIAL -- Walmart ignites another initiative in the fight against hunger with the
start of its $2.5 million “Golden Spark” promotion, giving consumers a
chance to win “sparks” that will help fund childhood hunger programs in
The promotion is just one part of the company’s Fighting Hunger Together fall initiative which brings together customers, associates, Feeding America and five of the nation’s largest food companies — ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, and Unilever — to provide meals nationwide.
The campaign launches during Hunger Action Month when leading hunger advocates urge individuals to help fight hunger in their local communities. Following are the ways consumers can participate.
Through October 14, Walmart will randomly award 40 “Golden Sparks” valued at $50,000 each to consumers who participate in the Fighting Hunger Together Golden Spark promotion. As Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. reported, the winners will choose a community to receive the funding to start or expand a backpack program that provides vital meals to food-insecure children during weekends when they do not have access to free- and reduced-price school meals.
Walmart Associates can compete together for their store to win 10 additional “Golden Sparks” totaling $500,000 for their communities by logging the most hunger relief volunteer hours during the life of the campaign.
The Fighting Hunger Together fall initiative launches amidst the release of the USDA report which found that at some point during the year over 50 million Americans won’t know where their next meal will come from—that’s one in six Americans. In addition, this fall the United States is emerging from the worst drought in more than five decades and faces the potential for limited food supplies and rising food prices.
“The USDA report is yet again proof that millions of Americans are facing the harsh reality of hunger this year and the issue is further compounded by a historic drought and the lingering effects of high unemployment rates,” said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the Walmart Foundation. “Walmart is committed to fighting hunger in America every day. By engaging our partners and providing unique and creative opportunities for our customers and associates to join the fight against hunger, such as this campaign, we know we can make an even greater impact and help local communities through this critical time.”
While USDA statistics point to an increase in hunger, food bank directors are echoing a similar message. In fact in a nationwide survey, over 65 percent of Feeding America Food Bank Executive Directors predict a decrease in food supply and an increase in demand, and more than half of them reported that their current food supply is poor or below average.
“A recent survey of Feeding America Food Bank Executive Directors showed that food supply is extremely low and there is a concern that the drought will have an adverse effect on food banks who have to purchase food and families that will have to stretch their already thin food budgets,” said Matt Knott, interim president and CEO of Feeding America. “This fall initiative, led by Walmart and some of the nation’s leading food companies, comes at a very critical time for our food banks and the millions of Americans that rely on our resources to feed their families.”
The Fighting Hunger Together fall initiative is part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s $2 billion commitment through 2015 to fight hunger. As a part of this commitment, Walmart and its Foundation pledged to donate more than 1.1 billion pounds of food from Walmart stores, distribution centers and Sam’s Club locations, valued at $1.75 billion, as well as $250 million in grants to support hunger relief organizations.