BENTONVILLE, Ark., May 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With more than 98,000 votes, Youngstown-Warren, Ohio, took the top spot in Walmart's "Fighting Hunger Together" Facebook campaign securing $1 million in grants from Walmart to help fight hunger. Since April 9, more than 396,000 votes were cast for the 200 communities across the United States hardest hit by unemployment. The 20 communities with the next highest votes will each receive $50,000 in grants to fight hunger. The runners-up are:
Johnson City, Tenn.
El Paso, Texas
St. George, Utah
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.
Parkersburg-Vienna, W. Va.
The Inland Empire, Calif.
The 200 communities included in Walmart's "Fighting Hunger Together" Facebook campaign were chosen based on a list from the U.S. Department of Labor that identified the communities across the country with the highest rates of unemployment. Walmart's campaign comes at a critical time, as spring traditionally brings a decrease in donations to food banks, leaving them unable to meet the needs of those who are facing food insecurity.
"We want to thank everyone who contributed to the fight against hunger this month, particularly the thousands who voted and shared the campaign with their friends on Facebook," said Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the Walmart Foundation. "We hope the increased awareness will positively impact food banks and hunger nonprofits across the nation as they continue to help the one in six Americans who at some point this year will be uncertain where their next meal will come from."
Through its Facebook page, Walmart will notify fans on the local organizations in the 21 communities that will receive hunger relief funding through this initiative. Walmart expects to announce all organizations receiving grants on May 15.
During April, Walmart customers were also able to fight hunger by visiting one of its 3,854 Walmart stores and Neighborhood Markets nationwide to purchase products from supplier partners, four of the nation's largest food companies — General Mills, ConAgra Foods, Kraft Foods and Kellogg Company. During April and as part of Walmart's continuing food donations, more than 42 million meals will be donated to Feeding America food banks and Action for Healthy Kids.
As the nation's largest grocer, Walmart is uniquely positioned to help fight hunger in America. Since launching its $2 billion commitment to fight hunger, the company has contributed more than 594 million pounds of food and $122 million in grants to hunger relief programs and is also lending its expertise to help food banks operate more efficiently.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better around the globe. In May 2010, Walmart and its Foundation made a historic pledge of $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger in the U.S. The Walmart Foundation also supports education, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness initiatives. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.