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Harry Chapin Food Bank receives Walmart Foundation grant

By Staff | Jun 30, 2011

The Harry Chapin Food Bank was one of two nonprofit organizations in the Southwest Florida Region that was awarded a grant through the Walmart Foundation Florida State Giving Program.
The program was launched in 2008 and provided 34 Florida-based nonprofit organizations with a total of $2 million in grant money. The State Giving Program focuses on organizations that highlight education, workforce development and economic opportunity, health and wellness, environmental sustainability and hunger relief.
So far this year, 19 nonprofit organizations were awarded nearly $1 million in grant money for combating hunger in their communities. The program benefits 22 counties throughout Florida.
“At Walmart we believe in operating globally and giving back locally. This funding will support organizations that are helping families put nutritious meals on the table, break barriers to finding jobs and support students to excel in school,” Walmart Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations Cindi Marsiglio said in a prepared statement. “We are appreciative of the communities we serve and aim to help our customers live better lives.”
CHS HealthCare Foundation was the other organization. It received a $50,000 grant.
Harry Chapin Food Bank Executive Director Al Brislain said the $25,000 grant will help them with their mobile food pantry and partial food distribution.
“We hope this is a long-standing partnership,” he said. “They have been very supportive.”
The grant money also will help them pay for the refrigerator trucks that they use to pick up perishable food from Walmart, Sam’s Club and other grocery stores in the community.
Brislain said last year they picked up more than 2 million pounds of food through the Store Pick Up Program.
He said it is a win-win for everyone involved because they hate to see food go to waste and the food bank wants to make sure they are able to help feed those in need.
“This is perfectly good food,” Brislain said about the perishable, nutritional food donated.
Some of perishable items they receive include produce, dairy and bakery foods. Sixty percent of the food donated to the food bank is donated by the food industry.
“We make sure we transport and store the food properly,” he said, adding it costs money to run the refrigerator trucks.
Brislain said Walmart has made a $5 billion commitment to fight hunger over the next several years. He said Walmart has made that fight against hunger possible for the Harry Chapin Food Bank due to the food and money donations they receive from them.
“Hunger was a priority and they have really stepped up,” Brislain said about Walmart.
The Harry Chapin Food Bank also received a grant last year from Walmart Foundation Florida State Giving Program to support their program Snap Out Reach, which helps individuals who may not know they qualify apply for food stamps.
Brislain said the bottom line is to make sure children are feed and families in need receive food. He said there are a lot of people in need in Lee County and their mission is to help feed them.
“These kind of partnerships make this happen,” he said about Walmart.