Walmart Foundation Awards $14 Million for Free Meals, Nutrition Education

The Walmart Foundation has announced grants totaling $14 million over two years to five nonprofit organizations working to provide free meals to children outside of school and nutrition education programs in four hundred and fifty communities nationwide.

Grants announced by the foundation include $5 million to the YMCA of the USA to expand its summer food program into a year-round program; $4 million to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) to increase access to, participation in, and awareness of programs that provide meals to children and families across the country; and $2 million to the Texas Hunger Initiative at Baylor University to expand sponsorship of and sites for summer and afterschool meal programs in the state.

The foundation also awarded grants of $1.5 million to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, to increase access to healthy food and nutrition education for children and parents outside of school in eight U.S. cities, and the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education & Families, to expand afterschool and summer nutrition initiatives and implement year-round free meal programs for more than twenty-five thousand low-income children.

The grants are part of a $2 billion commitment by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation to fight hunger in America. Despite indications of growing need among low-income families in America, a recent report from FRAC found that among children who participate in free-lunch programs during the school year, only one in seven participates in a summer nutrition program.

"At Walmart, we recognize that many children rely on the meals provided at school to sustain an adequate nutrition level and often go without after class ends and during summer vacation," said Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Walmart Foundation. "That's why we're committed to supporting organizations that work to ensure children have access to meals all year long and are also teaching families about eating healthy."