One in 6 people in the Mahoning Valley face hunger, including nearly 30,000 children. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded this issue. Job disruptions, lost wages and sudden expenses due to illness have been increasingly burdensome for the millions of people in America who live paycheck to paycheck and increase the need for additional food. To help our neighbors struggling with hunger, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Feeding America® and Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley are kicking off the seventh annual nationwide “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign.
The “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign launched on March 26 with online donations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone is encouraged to donate to help meet the increased need. The campaign will also run in-store and online from April 13 – May 11, 2020.
In partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, Walmart and Sam’s Club ask shoppers to help fight hunger in their local communities. There are two ways to participate – donating on Feeding America’s website or purchasing a participating item in-store or online. Donate at www.FeedingAmerica.org/Walmart or www.FeedingAmerica.org/SamsClub. For every participating product purchased at U.S. Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs or on Walmart.com and SamsClub.com during the campaign, the supplier will donate the monetary equivalent of at least one meal ($0.10) on behalf of a Feeding America member food bank, up to applicable limits.
Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley is working hard to keep up with the surge in demand for emergency food assistance in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties during this pandemic. Member agencies are reporting over a 30 percent increase in the number of people in line for food. Since the onset of the pandemic, Second Harvest has increased its distribution by over 1 million pounds of food compared to last year.
Walmart kick started the campaign with a $3 million donation to Feeding America and member food banks. A purchase of one of the 284 participating items helps secure the equivalent of one meal. Each Walmart and Sam’s Club will partner with at least one Feeding America local food bank, and the 22 participating suppliers include: Bush Brothers & Company, Campbell Soup Company, Clif Bar & Company, Conagra Brands, Crazy Richard’s, Ferrara Candy Company, General Mills, Great Value, J.M. Smucker, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, Materne North America, Monster Energy, Mott’s, Nestle Waters, Ocean’s Halo, PepsiCo, Post Consumer Brands, Soylent, The Coca-Cola Company, The Clorox Company and Unilever.
“The Food Bank greatly appreciates the generosity and support Feeding America, Walmart, Sam’s Club and the Mahoning Valley community during this unprecedented time,” said Michael Iberis, executive director, Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley.
“Fight Hunger. Spark Change. has been a way for Walmart and Sam’s Club to partner with our suppliers and customers to help bring food to the people who need it most,” said Julie Gehrki, vice president of philanthropy for Walmart.org. “It’s been an important effort every year, but this one is especially critical given the current demand on food banks. With millions of Americans worrying about how they will feed their families right now, Fight Hunger. Spark Change. is a powerful way for all of us to help.”
Last year, Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley received $67,779 from Walmart and Sam’s Club’s commitment to fight hunger through this campaign. To learn more about the campaign visit www.Walmart.com/FightHunger and www.SamsClub.com/FightHunger.