Bentonville, AR, March 1, 2006 – Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is partnering with America’s Second Harvest—The Nation’s Food Bank Network—to increase awareness of the national hunger crisis and help raise up to $10 million to provide food for those in need. This announcement comes on the heels of the alarming news recently released in the Hunger in America 2006 study, that today more than 25 million Americans, including nearly 9 million children and nearly 3 million seniors, request emergency food assistance from America’s Second Harvest. This represents an 8 percent increase since the last study, which was conducted in 2001.
During the month of March, all 3,800 Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB locations will ask their customers to be part of the fight to end hunger by donating cash at any store or Club. Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB have committed to matching the first $5 million raised in stores and Clubs. The funds will help America’s Second Harvest secure and distribute more nutritious food to those in need; develop its Agency Sustainability Program to increase the capacity of food that’s available to hungry Americans; and expand its BackPack Program that provides children at risk of hunger with nutritious food during the weekends and outside of school. Aiming to improve the nutritional mix of food distributed to clients, Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB will help to augment the Food Solicitation and Distribution Program and provide healthier options—more than 22 million pounds of fresh produce, protein and whole wheat—to the millions of hungry Americans relying on food banks throughout the country. Such food items are among those least donated and most difficult to distribute, due to their perishable nature. This will account for 6.5% of the total volume of food provided by America’s Second Harvest by September 30, 2006.
“This new partnership is an extension of the relationship Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB established with us during their recent Hurricane Katrina response and relief efforts. It’s a tremendous step forward in helping us to continue feeding the 25 million Americans our Network serves each year and ultimately to helping us end hunger in America,” Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of America’s Second Harvest, Ertharin Cousin, remarked.
In the days following Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB created an emergency operations center in a vacant Wal-Mart warehouse in Baker, Louisiana. As part of an ongoing focus on rebuilding communities, the partnership brought together employees from the Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, along with teams from nearby America’s Second Harvest Network food banks to staff the center and distribute critically-needed food and supplies to those affected by the hurricane.
“We joined forces then to help those in need in Gulf Coast communities, and we are partnering together today to help those dealing with the tragedy of hunger in communities throughout America,” Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Executive Director of the Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB Foundation, Betsy Reithemeyer, explains. “The goal of this effort is to help make a difference in the lives of our customers and neighbors in the communities we serve.”
Americas Second Harvest -- The Nations Food Bank Network is the largest charitable domestic hunger-relief organization in the country with a Network of more than 200 Member food banks and food - rescue programs serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The Americas Second Harvest Network secures and distributes more than 2 billion pounds of donated food and grocery products annually; and supports approximately 50,000 local charitable agencies operating more than 94,000 programs, including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after-school programs, and Kids Cafes. Last year, the Americas Second Harvest Network provided food assistance to more than 25 million low-income hungry people in the United States, including nearly 9 million children and 3 million seniors. For more on Americas Second Harvest, please visit www.secondharvest.org.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAMS CLUB locations in the United States. The company also operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The companys securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmartfacts.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com.
More information about Wal-Mart’s charitable giving or other Foundation programs can be found at www.walmartfoundation.org.