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With Record Number of New Yorkers On Food Stamps, Walmart Donates Over $282,000 To New York City Coalition Against Hunger As Part Of A $2 Billion National Commitment to Fight Hunger

With the number of New Yorkers on food stamps soaring to a record 3 million, the Walmart Foundation has committed $282,227 towards an anti-hunger effort led by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.  The effort is part of a $2 billion nationwide commitment Walmart is making to help the one in six Americans who currently struggle with hunger.

The initiative will be organized by the new national Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps, an AmeriCorps VISTA project, and is being coordinated by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH).  The Walmart contribution will support additional funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

Through this grant, the New York City Coalition Against Hunger will employ 15 VISTA volunteers working to fight hunger in New York City. Three other New York hunger relief organizations, including Long Island’s Island Harvest, will also benefit from this program.

“The AmeriCorps VISTA program is a perfect tool to fight hunger and improve nutrition,” said NYCCAH’s Joel Berg.  “We are grateful that this new public-private partnership will cost-effectively aid the ability of grassroots nonprofit groups in 18 states to increase their capacity to enable eligible families to access the federal nutrition assistance benefits that they need to avoid hunger and improve their diets.”

Walmart and Sam’s Club accept SNAP, formally known as food stamp benefits, at all of their stores nationwide.  SNAP benefits pay for food items but exclude items such as alcohol, tobacco and household items that are not food.

“Walmart and Sam’s Club stores have long accepted food stamps/SNAP benefits, even when at least one of their key competitors still refused to do so. Accepting these benefits – which help low-income families afford more nutritious food – is both smart business and good community service,” added Mr. Berg.

According to a November 2009 U.S. Department of Agriculture report, hunger rates in the U.S. are the highest since 1995 with nearly 15 percent of households lacking access to an adequate supply of nutritious food.

In May 2010, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation announced a $2 billion cash and in-kind commitment, stepping up efforts to help end hunger in America.

“Walmart has committed $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger, but we know that this serious issue will only be solved if we work together – government, nonprofits and the private sector,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “That’s exactly why we are supporting the Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps and its efforts to reduce hunger rates in this country.”

To learn more about this program, click here.