BENTONVILLE, Ark.— The Walmart Foundation announced today nearly $4million in grants to organizations working to fight hunger in Texas –Brighter Bites and Baylor University’s Texas Hunger Initiative.
This support comes at a crucial time when, according to Feeding America, Texas is home to 10 percent of the nation’s food-insecure individuals, where more than 4 million people struggle with hunger, including 1.6 million children. In addition to food insecurity, only 10 percent of Texans are meeting the CDC’s recommended daily vegetable intake and only 12 percent meet the daily recommended fruit intake.
“As the nation’s largest grocer, Walmart is in a unique position to create effective and sustainable solutions to help combat food insecurity in the communities we serve,” said Julie Gehrki, vice president of philanthropy at Walmart. “By leveraging the strengths of our business and engaging with the right partners on the ground through philanthropic investments, we’re supporting innovative programs that both address immediate needs locally and strengthen the broader meal system.”
A nearly $1.3 million grant supports Brighter Bites, a Houston based non-profit focused on increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables combined with nutrition education to prevent obesity and improve health outcomes for low-income children and families. The grant helps expand Brighter Bites in Dallas, Houston and Austin, as well as other markets in the U.S. Thanks in large part to this grant, the program has added 18 new sites and more than doubled the number of families served since the 2017-18 school year.
“Far too many households in Texas are faced with food insecurity and lack of proper nutrition,” stated Rich Dachman, CEO of Brighter Bites. “It’s our goal to change that by increasing access to healthy, nutritious foods for more families.”
As part of the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, the Texas Hunger Initiative (THI) is a capacity-building, collaborative project dedicated to developing and implementing strategies to end hunger through policy, education, research, community organizing and community development. The Walmart Foundation has dedicated a grant of $2,600,000 to THI for use over 24 months. The grant will be used to increase access to healthy food through learning labs, direct outreach, research and policy engagement. The grant will also be used to help pilot community-based programs developing strategies to deepen insights and create successful food assistance systems.
“This grant from the Walmart Foundation will help us work to end food insecurity in our communities,” said Jeremy Everett, founder and executive director of the Texas Hunger Initiative at Baylor University. “Our goal with this grant is to identify solutions that can be scaled and replicated to combat hunger in Texas and beyond.”
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have a long history in the fight to eliminate food insecurity. In 2010, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation made their first public commitment to fight hunger – over $2 billion in grants and in-kind food donations to organizations on the front lines of fighting food insecurity. In 2015, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation committed to help provide 4 billion meals to people in need, and nutrition education to 4 million people by 2020. Funding is in place to reach both commitments ahead of schedule. Globally, Walmart donated a total 720 million pounds of food in FY2019 and nearly 57 million pounds of food to Texas residents.