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Walmart awards $631,500 to fight hunger in Pennsylvania

Foundation gift includes $451,500 in direct grants to the Pennsylvania Association of Regional Food Banks, plus two refrigerated food delivery trucks valued at $90,000 each, with one truck going to Philabundance

PHILADELPHIA, PA – As a part of Walmart’s commitment to fighting hunger, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation today announced that the Pennsylvania Association of Regional Food Banks (PARF) has been awarded $631,500 in grants and contributions, including two new refrigerated food delivery trucks. State Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding joined elected officials and state and local hunger charities leaders during an event at the Philabundance food bank to turn over the keys to the donated trucks.

PARF received a $351,500 grant from the Walmart Foundation to support its fight against hunger as well as a $100,000 grant from the foundation’s Associate Choice Program, an online campaign where Walmart associates vote to choose a nonprofit to receive funding in their home state. The grants will help PARF support its network of 21 food banks that serve food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other hunger relief organizations in all 67 Pennsylvania counties.

“As a company, we operate globally but look for opportunities to give back locally,” said Joe Venezia, Senior Vice President of the New England Division at Walmart. “We’re pleased that Walmart associates chose to support PARF. Walmart and the foundation are proud to support the work that Pennsylvania’s network of food banks, and to help increase access to nutritious and fresh food for the many people and families who live daily with food insecurity.”

“These grants from the Walmart Foundation and Walmart associates could not come at a more critical time,” said Sheila Christopher, Executive Director of PARF. “Across Pennsylvania, those who once contributed to local food banks now find themselves in the awkward position of standing in line to receive food. Walmart’s significant commitment provides desperately needed funding to help us address this skyrocketing demand.”

Philabundance, a PARF member, received one of two refrigerated food delivery trucks donated by the Walmart Foundation to help increase access to nutritious and fresh food to families, seniors, and children in need throughout the region. A second truck went to Harrisburg-based Channels Food Rescue, which feeds more than 100,000 people annually throughout central Pennsylvania. Each truck is valued at $90,000.

Philabundance’s truck will enable the organization to pick up an additional 15,000 pounds of food from local retailers each week, a 42 percent increase over the existing pickups. After the event, more than a dozen Walmart associates helped unload the first official load of cargo from the new truck.

“Thank you to Walmart and the Walmart Foundation for the generous donation of a refrigerated truck,” said Bill Clark, President and Executive Director of Philabundance. “This addition to our fleet of trucks will help Philabundance tremendously as we work to increase and improve access of fresh and frozen nutritious foods to our neighbors in need across the Delaware Valley.”

Secretary Redding offered his appreciation to the Walmart Foundation for its commitment to an important cause that will impact the lives of many Pennsylvanians.

The most recent food security report from the USDA depicts hunger as a challenge so significant that it can only be solved if government, corporations and community organizations work together. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to applying its unique business strengths to address the growing problem of hunger.

“Solving the problem of hunger in Pennsylvania and across the country will require partnerships between government, nonprofit organizations and the private sector — all acting together,” Venezia said. “Walmart has made a five-year commitment to fight hunger in America by donating money and resources. We also have engaged an army of associates and customers who through their volunteer support and food drive contributions will help meet the nutrition needs of countless children and families across the state.”

Walmart has recently announced a $2 billion commitment to help end hunger in America. Through the “Fighting Hunger Together” initiative, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will give $250 million in grants to hunger relief organizations and donate more than 1.1 billion pounds of food from Walmart stores, distribution centers and Sam’s Club locations, valued at $1.75 billion. This week Walmart also kicked off a nationwide food drive through November 22nd in which 3,700 stores nationwide will be collecting food that will be donated to local food banks.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Through Dec. 31, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are encouraging people to visit Walmart’s Facebook page to help decide which cities should receive $1.5 million in grants to fight hunger. Participants will choose from a list of 100 communities where hunger rates are the highest — the city with the most support will receive $1 million in grants and the five runners up will receive $100,000 each. To vote for the Philadelphia-area, visit: www.walmart.com/fightinghunger.

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About Pennsylvania Association of Regional Food Banks (PARF)
The Pennsylvania Association of Regional Food Banks, Inc. (PARF) has been addressing hunger issues in the commonwealth for 24 years. PARF is a membership organization comprised of 21 food banks across the state serving all 67 Pennsylvania counties. More information is available at www.pafoodbanks.org.

About Philabundance
Philabundance reduces hunger and food insecurity in the Delaware Valley by providing food access to those in need in partnership with organizations and individuals. Philabundance provides a full plate of services to close to 500 member agencies in 9 counties, who serve approximately 65,000 people per week at an aggregate cost of less than 30 cents per meal. There are more than 900,000 people in the Delaware Valley who are at risk for chronic hunger and malnutrition. In 2009, Philabundance, distributed 17 million pounds of food in the Delaware Valley. For more information about Philabundance, call 215-339-0900 or visit www.philabundance.org.

About Channels Food Rescue
Channels is a Harrisburg-based nonprofit organization that collects rescued food from donors and distributes to member agencies such as homeless shelters, soup kitchens and community centers. Channels currently is delivering over 120,000 pounds of nourishing food monthly to more than 60 agencies, feeding over 100,000 people annually in central Pennsylvania. More information is available at www.channelsfoodrescue.com.

About Walmart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), or “Walmart,” serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 8,400 retail units under 55 different banners in 15 countries. With fiscal year 2010 sales of $405 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. With more than 170 supercenters, discount stores, Sam’s Clubs and four distribution centers in Ohio, Walmart employs more than 51,000 Ohioans. A leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity, Walmart ranked first among retailers in Fortune Magazine’s 2009 Most Admired Companies survey. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com and on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/Walmartnews.

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. The Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From Feb. 1, 2009 through Jan. 31, 2010, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $512 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally, $467 million of which was donated in the U.S. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.

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