Fourteen of the world’s biggest food companies have this year joined retailer Walmart to encourage 150 million weekly shoppers to take action in the growing hunger crisis in the US and Puerto Rico.
According to the USDA, one in eight Americans (equating to around 41 million people) – which includes one in six children (nearly 13 million) – struggle with hunger at some point during the year.
- General Mills
- The Coca-Cola Company
- Kraft Heinz
- Bush Brothers
- Clorox Sales Company
- Pinnacle Foods
- Post Consumer Brands
- JM Smucker
Now in its fifth year, the ‘Fight Hunger. Spark Change’ campaign donates the monetary equivalent of one meal (10 cents) to Feeding America for every participating product purchased at US and Puerto Rico Walmart stores or online during April 2018. Each dollar collected helps provide at least 10 meals to be distributed to Feeding America’s network of 200 food banks.
Walmart kicked off the campaign with a $1.5m donation and aims to raise a total of $3m during the month. Each participating supplier has committed a minimum and maximum donation.
In 2014, Walmart announced its commitment to create more sustainable food system by lowering the “true cost” of food, increasing access to food, making healthier eating easier and improving the safety and transparency of the food chain.
The commitment also includes a goal to provide four billion meals to those struggling with hunger in the US by 2020.
No man is an island
“Every day, the Feeding America are on the ground helping children and families who need it most, but we know that we can’t end hunger alone,” said Matt Knott, president of Feeding America.
“We hope [the campaign will inspire] everyone to take action and support their neighbors.”
“By working together during this campaign with our suppliers, customers and friends at Feeding America, we can help secure 200 million meals that will help those who need it most,” added Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart.
Kellogg, too, knows the influence it has in the fight against hunger and has launched its own initiative – Breakfasts for Better Days – aimed at ensuring that, by 2025, three billion people have a better start to their day, including children getting breakfast at school.
Supplier and consumer participation
However, its involvement in Walmart’s ‘Fight Hunger. Spark Change’ program is an important one.
“This program is meaningful to us… because its impact is local: all donations made in the community go directly to the local community where the product is purchased. Social impact programs like this are powerful because they allow neighbors to help neighbors in stores where they shop,” said Scott Salmon, chief customer officer of Kellogg Company.
“A simple everyday action like buying a box of your favorite cereal during the month of April can help provide meals to a foodbank in your community,” he added.
This year, Walmart has introduced the Walmart Credit Card as a new way for customers to get involved, and has enlisted social networking site, Nextdoor, to bring community leaders, city officials, local chefs, journalists and neighbors together around a communal table to discuss how best to combat hunger locally.