Walmart Sparks a Multi-Stakeholder Effort to Fight Hunger in the U.S.

by Amy Brown
Apr 1, 2019 1:00 PM ET
Article

This article series is sponsored by Walmart and produced by the TriplePundit editorial team.

There is strength in numbers, especially for a cause as important as fighting hunger among the more than 40 million Americans who are food insecure. That’s why Walmart has rallied its customers, suppliers, and 1.5 million associates at almost 5,000 U.S. stores to join in a campaign to fight hunger and spark change.

Launched in 2014, the “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign helps support Feeding America—the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization—and its network of 200 local member food banks. The campaign raised $23 million in 2018, enough to help Feeding America secure a record 230 million meals for food-insecure households.

A cause that unites everyone

The success of the campaign is highly dependent on Walmart associates’ and customers’ dedication to addressing hunger, Megan Crozier, senior vice president of food merchandise at Walmart, told TriplePundit. “This is a cause that unites everyone: our associates, customers, suppliers and partners. Food insecurity in America could be affecting your neighbor or even a family member. We wanted to bring attention to this issue with this campaign.”

People are always surprised when they read the statistics on hunger in the U.S. “This is an easy rally cry for anyone once they find out the extent of the problem, how it exists in every community and in every neighborhood in America,” Crozier said.

Walmart gets the word out about the campaign in multiple ways—mobilizing customers and associates to raise awareness around hunger and food insecurity. Signs, promotions and other in-store features inform customers about the campaign. Donations can be made at the register at point of sale. “Register contributions are a huge source of donations,” Crozier explained. “Customers are really engaged around our hunger relief efforts when they shop our stores.”

Partnering for change

Suppliers and partners also play a huge part in this multi-stakeholder endeavor to battle food insecurity, Crozier added. “We have suppliers excited to participate in the campaign,” she said. “Their business focus is on food, so naturally they want to get involved; it is a great story to be told, a smart business decision as well as the right thing to do.”

In April 2018, Walmart collaborated with Nextdoor, a private social media network active in 170,000 neighborhoods nationwide, and Neighbor’s Table, which builds and delivers handcrafted tables, to hold a series of events across the U.S. focused on bringing diverse groups together to discuss the nation’s hunger crisis and how communities might best address it. 

Working with Feeding America and Nextdoor, Walmart invited community leaders, city officials, local chefs, local food banks, journalists and area neighbors to come together around handcrafted tables made by Neighbor’s Table. The table remained as a gift in each community, so neighbors could continue to discuss how to best combat hunger locally. Following the gatherings, community members were invited to learn more about ways they could help their local food bank.

The idea was that many problems can be solved just by having a conversation, especially when it involves sharing a meal around the table. “The best ideas come from our associates, customers and suppliers,” Crozier said.  “We are excited to see what they come up with during this year’s campaign to further the fight against hunger.”  

Image courtesy of Walmart