According to a report released last year by the Food Resource and Access Center (FRAC) in 2013, only one in seven children who needed summer meals received them, and the demand for such meals is only increasing. In many neighborhoods, summertime presents a dire challenge to families with limited resources: Without school lunches to depend on, many kids end up eating junk food or even going hungry. Fortunately, the Walmart Foundation is one of a number of funders with an eye on this problem, and it has the deep pockets to do something about it.
Never mind that many Walmart workers subsist on food stamps, thanks to that company's low wages, as we've noted in the past.
Based in Bentonville, Arkansas, the Walmart Foundation has announced grants totaling $15.5 million to seven nonprofit organizations working to provide free meal and nutrition education programs this summer and into the fall.
The grants support efforts in more than 7,700 communities and provides access to meals, cooking advice, and nutrition information for more than a million low-income children and their families. Recipients include the YMCA of the USA, which was awarded $5.3 million to expand food programs that provide healthy meals, snacks, and enriching activities that support the development of 200,000 children in more than 2,300 communities across the country; the National Recreation and Park Association, which receives $2.3 million to provide more than fifteen million meals to underserved youth and provide nutrition education to more than 257,000 children and families; Baylor University's Texas Hunger Initiative, which was awarded $2.2 million to increase child participation in summer and after-school meal programs in that state; and the National 4-H Council, which receives $2 million to provide nutrition education in 24 states for underserved youths, with a focus on expanding programs for African Americans and Hispanics.
"While many children look forward to the summer months as a time to relax, it can be a difficult time for families who rely on meals at school," said Karrie Denniston, director of hunger relief and nutrition at the Walmart Foundation. "As in years past, this summer we continue our work with longstanding nonprofit partners to help more kids access meals and learn to develop nutritious eating habits so they can live healthy lives."