Wal-Mart Stores,Inc., and the Wal-Mart Foundation are celebrating the holidays by donating$25 million to organizations that help communities across the country.Wal-Mart's support includes three new grants announced today totaling $1.25million to Meals On Wheels Association of America, Fisher House and OperationHome Front.
"In these difficult times, the work that we do to support the communities we serve is more important than ever," said Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation. "And to reinforce our commitment to support organizations that create opportunities for individuals and families to live better, we plan to increase our charitable giving in 2009."
The Wal-Mart Foundation is focusing its attention towards efforts that support those hit hardest by the economic crisis. The Foundation also directed Walmart stores and Sam's Clubs across the country to take similar action with their community giving. This holiday season, Walmart stores and Sam's Club swill give more than $20 million to local community organizations. Stores and clubs will work with organizations that address basic unmet needs such as hunger, homelessness, day care, job training and financial counseling.
Helping Feed Hungry Americans
In response to the needs of local Meals On Wheels programs, the Wal-Mart foundation announced that it will provide a $750,000 grant to Meals On Wheels association of America (MOWAA). The grant will be used to restore nutrition services that local Meals On Wheels programs have been forced to change or reduce because of severe operating constraints brought on by rising food angas prices and the current economy. MOWAA will select between 60-80 local programs to receive grants up to $10,000 each.
"Nearly 48 percent of the local Meals On Wheels programs reported they were forced to eliminate meal delivery routes and 38 percent were forced to reduce the number of clients they could accept," said Enid Borden, President and CEO of Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA). "The Wal-Mart Foundation's support will help alleviate some of these rising numbers."
Wal-Mart also recently announced its partnership with Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger-relief agency, to provide an estimated 90 million pounds of food annually -- the equivalent of 70 million meals -- to families in need by the end of 2009. Feeding America received a $2.5 million cash donation from the Wal-Mart Foundation to help improve warehouse capacity and to purchase 20 new refrigerated trucks to safely transport food from Walmart stores and Sam's Clubs to food pantries and soup kitchens.
Supporting Our Veterans During the Holidays
Wal-Mart plans to support our nation's heroes this holiday season by supporting Fisher House and Operation HomeFront.
The Fisher House Foundation will receive a $250,000 grant from Wal-Mart to help meet the needs of the families that are staying in Fisher Houses across the country. Fisher Houses provide free lodging for the families of wounded soldiers and veterans that are being treated in military and VA medical centers. The $250,000 grant will support the families staying in Fisher Houses this Holiday season by providing a Walmart gift card for each family which can be used to purchase items such as food, gas and clothing. Funding will also be provided to each Fisher House to purchase much needed items such as bedding and other household items. The final portion of the funding will be used to support Fisher House's Hero Miles Program, helping to fund airline travel so military families can be together during the holiday season.
Last year, Wal-Mart provided $5,000 gift cards to each Fisher House to purchase much needed supplies for the houses. In addition, associates from local Walmart stores and Sam's Clubs visited the houses for a Christmas decorating party and provided holiday decor for the house and food and gifts for family members.
Operation Homefront will also receive a $250,000 grant from Wal-Mart.Operation Homefront Villages provide free transitional housing for the families of wounded soldiers as they are treated at nearby military medical centers. Wal-Mart's grant will support the purchase of gift cards that will be made available to military families in need that come to OperationHomefront for assistance this holiday season.
Bells Ringing at Walmart Stores and Sam's Clubs
For the fourth year in a row, Wal-Mart is supporting the Salvation Army's"Red Kettle" fundraising efforts at Walmart and Sam's Club locations. The bell ringers will be in front of all stores and clubs from Nov. 28 - Dec.24th. The Wal-Mart Foundation gave a $1.25 million grant to the Salvation Army to kick-off the campaign. In addition, bell ringers were invited to setup their kettles on Nov. 8 for an extra day of giving to remind customers to give early and give generously this holiday season.
About Philanthropy at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and the Wal-Mart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Wal-Mart Foundation supports initiatives focused on enhancing opportunities in education, job skills training, sustainability and health and wellness. In 2007, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and the Wal-Mart Foundation gave $296 million to communities across the United States. To learn more,visit http://www.walmartfoundation.org.
About Meals On Wheels Association of America
The Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) is the oldest and largest national organization in the United States representing those programs that provide meals to people in need. To obtain more information about MOWAA or to locate a local Meals On Wheels program, visit the MOWAA website at http://www.mowaa.org.
About Feeding America
Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 25 million Americans each year, including 9 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks operate 63,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit http://www.feedingamerica.org.
About Fisher House Foundation
Fisher House Foundation is best known for the network of 42 comfort homes on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. The houses are 5,000to 16,800 square foot homes, with up to 21 suites, donated to the military and department of Veterans Affairs by Fisher House Foundation. The Foundation provides support to families of patients receiving care at the nearby medical center and has ensured that families of service men and women wounded or injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operating Enduring Freedom do not pay for their stay at a Fisher House or other base facility if they are on a wait list. For more information, please visit http://www.fisherhouse.org.
About Operation Homefront
Operation Homefront provides emergency assistance and morale to our troops, to the families they leave behind and to wounded warriors when they return home. A nonprofit 501(c)(3), Operation Homefront served more than 33,000 military families in 2007 with the help of 4,500 volunteers in 30chapters nationwide. For more information, please visit http://www.operationhomefront.net.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for 128 years in the United States. Nearly 29 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. About 82 cents of every dollar raised is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information,go to http://www.salvationarmyusa.org.
"Holidays, birthdays & anniversaries have been celebrated with tears and smiles with people who truly understand what the other person is experiencing."
- Kamryn Jaroszewski