Apr 10, 2012 • By

Fighting Hunger Together

I spent part of my day yesterday at an exciting event at a Walmart store in Nashville, Tenn. I was there to support an effort to raise awareness of the need for springtime donations to food banks across the U.S.

Walmart invited General Mills, ConAgra, Kraft and the Kellogg Company to an event in the parking lot of one of its stores to raise awareness for the challenge millions of people face as they struggle to decide whether to pay bills or buy food for their families. Alarmingly, approximately one in six Americans (16.1 percent) struggles with hunger right now.

We also were joined by Big Machine Label Group and The Band Perry – our partners in our Outnumber Hunger campaign – and actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley (her husband is country star Brad Paisley).

The Band Perry performed three songs at the event, much to the crowd’s delight. You can see a video replay of the entire event on WalmartStores.com.

“We are so grateful to Walmart and General Mills for allowing my brothers and me to be a part of such an amazing movement,” Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry told the crowd. She urged people to go into the Walmart to buy some General Mills products afterward – including Cheerios, which she said was a favorite on The Band Perry’s tour bus. (Here’s a video of The Band Perry visiting a food bank in Nashville).

“We want to tackle hunger,” said Jack Sinclair, executive vice president of Walmart’s U.S. grocery business. “It isn’t acceptable in a country like ours that we haven’t got everyone feeling secure in their food needs. As the largest grocer and retailer in the country, we can galvanize the support of a whole host of people.”

“We all know someone who has been struggling,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO, Feeding America. “It’s important that we all work together to solve this problem.”

Each company represented at the event outlined their efforts to support Feeding America’s springtime need, a time when food banks around the country typically experience a dip in giving and families begin to focus on summer activities.

“As a food company, fighting hunger is a top priority for our organization,” said Kim Nelson, senior vice president of External Relations for General Mills and president of the General Mills Foundation. “We want to thank Walmart for bringing us all together for this phenomenal opportunity to help our neighbors in need.”

General Mills is a founding member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief charity. Over the last decade, the General Mills Foundation has provided more than $33 million in support to help alleviate hunger and improve nutrition.

Outnumber Hunger, our new nationwide initiative that helps fight hunger in local communities, is in partnership with Feeding America and Big Machine Label Group’s star-studded line-up of country music artists. It involves codes that are available on millions of specially marked packages of General Mills products at retailers across the U.S. These codes give consumers the chance to help Feeding America secure meals on behalf of their local food banks.

For every code entered by March 1, 2013, General Mills will donate 65 cents to Feeding America – enough to secure five meals on behalf of local food banks – up to a maximum donation of $2,100,000.

At Walmart specifically, through April 30, shoppers who purchase General Mills products such as Cheerios or Green Giant vegetables and enter the “Outnumber Hunger” code online will help Feeding America secure seven meals per package for local food banks.

Artists like The Band Perry, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire and Martina McBride also will offer select special codes on Facebook and Twitter that will trigger donations to Feeding America.

Yesterday’s event with Walmart in Nashville offered many simple ways people can get involved with the fight against hunger. I was glad to be there to see it all come together.