YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – One in six people and nearly 30,000 children in the Mahoning Valley are facing hunger, and the threat only looks to increase in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With that in mind, local organizations are teaming up for a sweeping food collection drive called “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.”
For the seventh year in a row, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Feeding America, and Second Harvest Food Bank are kicking off the campaign.
Officials are calling on people in the community to contribute towards the effort.
Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley has seen a 30% increase in the number of people in line for food. Last year, the organization distributed 11.5 million pounds of food and has increased that number by over 1 million pounds in an effort to keep up with the unexpected surge.
The campaign launched on March 26 with online donations in response to the pandemic and has since expanded to store fronts.
“It’s been an important effort every year, but this one is especially critical given the current demand on food banks,” said Julie Gehrkim Vice President of Philanthropy for Walmart. “With millions of Americans worrying about how they will feed their families right now, Fight Hunger. Spark Change. is a powerful way for all of us to help.”
To kickstart the campaign, Walmart donated $3 million to Feeding America and member food banks.
For every one of the 284 participating products purchased online or in-store, the supplier will donate the equivalent of at least one meal ($0.10) on behalf of a Feeding America member food bank.
The 22 participating suppliers include: Bush Brothers & Company, Campbell Soup Company, Clif Bar & Company, Conagra Brands, Crazy Richard’s, Ferrara Candy Company, General Mills, Great Value, J.M. Smucker, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, Materne North America, Monster Energy, Mott’s, Nestle Waters, Ocean’s Halo, PepsiCo, Post Consumer Brands, Soylent, The Coca-Cola Company, The Clorox Company and Unilever.
The campaign will continue running online and in-store through May 11.