It’s always amazingly heartbreaking to hear how many kids are dependent on school meals for their daily nutrition and to realize that for some children, their school lunch (and breakfast if they eat it at school too) may be the only full meal they eat each weekday. Of course, this means that during the summer, many families are left in challenging situations. According to a FRAC summer nutrition report issued in June, the number of children participating in the USDA’s Summer Nutrition Programs increased last year, yet only 1 in 7 children who needed summer meals received them. Because of this ongoing dilemma, the Walmart Foundation just recently announced a summer-long initiative to help children and families gain access to meals and learn healthy-eating habits via $15 million in grants that will benefit 1.4 million children and families in more than 1,500 communities.
This summer giving initiative from the Walmart Foundation is actually the third annual summer initiative from the Walmart Foundation that benefits nonprofit organizations helping families with feeding and nutrition education. This year’s grants will provide meals and/or nutrition education to six nonprofit organizations: Children’s Health Fund, Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National 4-H Council, National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), and YMCA of the USA (The Y). Grants from the Walmart Foundation will help families throughout the next two years and full details of how the grant programs will be used at each organization can be found here.
Another aspect of this year’s Foundation initiative is a five-week Eat Healthy Together Challenge designed to encourage families to prepare and eat healthy meals together throughout the summer. Collaborating with Chef Lorena Garcia of Top Chef Masters, Walmart’s Eat Healthy Together Challenge is meant to inspire families to eat healthy meals at least three times a week together. That’s something we can all get behind and support, right? Through the challenge’s website and collaboration with Chef Garcia, resources are also provided for families to help them learn more about shopping for and cooking healthy meals, plus a printable calendar can be accessed for tracking family meals.
The Walmart Eat Healthy Together Challenge will reward healthy eating with a weekly $25 Walmart gift card prize to a lucky winner! You can easily join the fun of the challenge before it ends on August 4th by following @WalmartHealthy on Twitter, post photos of your healthy family meals (or of your family eating healthy meals together) including the #EatHealthyTogether #Contest hashtags, and look for the winning announcement each Monday via @WalmartHealthy! Be sure to read the full official contest rules here.
As a member of the Walmart Moms program, I’m happy to be able to spread news of the Walmart Foundation’s summer giving initiative and Eat Healthy Together Challenge. I know there are many children who are in need and if through these grants, Walmart is able to help make a dent this summer (and hopefully in the future as well), then I’ll gladly support their efforts by bringing awareness to the Foundation’s cause. Won’t you join me in applauding the Walmart Foundation’s latest initiative to help fill the summer gap so that children and families in need can access healthy meals over the summer?
Photos © Melanie Edwards/modernmami™
Eat Healthy Together Challenge logo courtesy Walmart