Walmart has made a commitment to spend 2 billion dollars by 2015 in the US to end hunger in America. Through both cash and in-kind donations (food and other supplies needed for hunger relief efforts), they've already done a lot. They plan on doing a lot more.
When I was asked to write about it, I didn't hesitate at accepting the chance. It's not just because giving to the community is a huge part of my life, and not just because we were nearly there last spring with my husband out of work. It's because I was there. As a kid. My parents had made some mistakes, and part of changing their lives meant they were both of out of work for a while. For that time, we did go to food banks, I was on a reduced cost lunch program at school. Our turkey dinners for the holidays that year were given to us by a local church. What stands out to me in my memory was how hard it was for my mom. It was a hard choice to make between her pride and making sure my brother and I had healthy meals to eat every night. At some point, she made a decision that was uniquely her, she was able to volunteer some of the cold calling skills she had from years of lobbying and working with political non-profits to help get donations for those programs. That volunteer work helped mom rebuild her connections and eventually helped her get a good job. But for that year, we depended on charities for most of our meals. So an intiative to help make sure children and families get to eat? Yes, it's important. It's one of the most important things there is to do for the good of the community. Fed children are healthy children, they are more able to learn, and more able to do. So it's also good for the future.
Going to the above website you can see the various ways you can help, there are several! You can watch videos and take a short survey for one of the suppliers donating meals, you can download an app to use to check in at Walmart, you can go to Walmart and look for Fighting Hunger Together signs and buy those products. The products and suppliers? They are products you probably already have on your shopping list. You're buying them anyway. Buy them from Walmart and a donation is made. Walmart has a long standing partnership with Feeding America which helps benefit food banks around the country. The suppliers are General Mills, Unilever, Kraft Foods and ConAgra Foods.
For me? My favorite food in the world is General Mills Cheerios with low-fat milk. Yes. I'm completely serious, even more than creme brulee. I LOVE my Cheerios so much that we generally buy Cheerios for me and not-Cheerios for everyone else in the family so they won't eat the last of my Cheerios. My daughter's favorite is Lucky Charms, also a General Mills product. So there are two things on our shopping list we can get at Walmart and help fight hunger.
Also on the Fighting Hunger Together site, you can find the Golden Spark promotion. It's easy to enter, and the prize is 50,000 for your community either to help a local food project or to start a backpack program to help feed children on weeknds when they don't have access to low cost or free school lunch programs. Best part? Walmart isn't just giving away one prize, they are giving away 40 of these. 50K in Anchorage would make a huge difference. It would make a big difference in any community to help feed the hungry.
Have you ever been hungry? Ever needed that kind of help? A lot of us have been there at one point or another, and it's hard. How about helping someone or a local charity? Our family gives every year to Bean's Cafe. Generally in-kind donations, when we go grocery shopping, we pick up an extra can of something, or a pair of gloves, a pair of socks. We collect it in a bag in the trunk then every few weeks, we drive down and drop it off. We also donate cash and go to one of their fundraisers yearly. Walmart also donates to Bean's Cafe. It's one of the big checks on the wall! I'm so glad they are supporting our local programs.