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Wal-Mart gift helps fight hunger
Donated money goes toward a new refrigerator, truck and coordinator position.
Arlington diocesan Catholic Charities recently was gifted $46,920 from the Wal-Mart Foundation, part of a $760,000 gift that was divided between 12 diocesan Catholic Charities agencies throughout the country. The money is intended to expand hunger relief efforts in rural communities.
“We are extremely grateful and appreciative of this most kind and very generous gift from the Wal-Mart Foundation,” said Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA. “People living in rural communities are often overlooked in addressing the challenge of hunger in the United States. While their challenges are often the same as those in urban communities, their geographic isolation makes their needs more difficult to respond to.”
Hunger is a growing problem in the Arlington Diocese, according to Sally O’Dwyer, Catholic Charities vice president of community services. Approximately 16 percent of residents in certain areas of the diocese are “food insecure,” meaning they don’t know if they will have enough to eat each month. Through three food pantries in Alexandria, Front Royal and Leesburg, diocesan Catholic Charities provides food for more than 2,000 individuals monthly, approximately 25,000 per year.
The money awarded to Catholic Charities was used to purchase a commercial refrigerator for the Loaves and Fishes food pantry in Front Royal, which opened last March; to purchase a new delivery truck that will be used to distribute food in areas most in need; and to hire a regional emergency assistance coordinator who will enhance Catholic Charities services in rural counties.
“This gift could not come at a better time for our agency,” said Art Bennett, president and CEO of Catholic Charities. “With hunger and food insecurity on the rise, we are ramping up our food efforts, but the demand is increasing. We are so grateful for this opportunity to strengthen and expand our reach and help those in our diocese who need it most.”
The gift is a result of the Wal-Mart Foundation’s five-year-long initiative, “Fighting Hunger Together.” In the coming years, the foundation has committed to donating more than 1.1 billion pounds of food from Wal-Mart stores, distribution centers and Sam’s Club locations and awarding more than $250 million in grant money to hunger relief organizations.