MIDDLEPORT — Local Walmart representatives joined Blessings in a Backpack coordinators and volunteers at Meigs Primary School in Middleport to present a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation State Giving Council.
The grant will help the non-profit provide elementary schoolchildren, who are on the federal Free and Reduced Price Meal Program, with a backpack of food to take home for 38 weekends during the school year.
“This program has filled a dire need for so many of our students to assure that they have food to fill their bellies over the weekends,” said Julie Howard, Blessings in a Backpack Program Coordinator. “They can leave on Friday knowing that they will not have to wait until Monday morning to get another meal. I am so grateful to our generous sponsors, volunteers, and the staff at Meigs Primary for making this happen for our kids.”
The Walmart Foundation State Giving Program awards grants that have a long-lasting, positive impact on communities across the U.S. Grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations that serve a particular state or region and work to fight hunger, support children and education, promote environmental sustainability or provide workforce development opportunities.
Blessings in a Backpack currently feeds more than 63,000 children in 583 schools in 45 U.S. states. The grant to the Blessing in a Backpack program will be distributed among schools in several Ohio communities that include Middleport, Albany, Strongsville, Marysville, Dayton, Dublin and Xenia.
The $13,500 received by Meigs Primary will provide approximately 6,400 food-filled weekend bags or feed 189 students during the program year. Meigs Primary feeds more than 250 children a week.
“Our local Walmart stores and the Walmart Foundation seek opportunities to give back to the community by supporting organizations that are committed to making a difference in the lives of others,” said Rick Gainey, Store Manager for Walmart in Gallipolis. “Blessings in a Backpack is making a major difference throughout the state by ensuring children who deal with food insecurity have access to meals during the weekend.”
According to Blessings in a Backpack, 20 million children in this country are at risk of hunger. The consequences of hunger are much more than a growling stomach. Poor nutrition can result in a weaker immune system, increased hospitalization, lower IQ, shorter attention spans, and lower academic achievement.
In addition to today’s $50,000 grant to Blessings in a Backpack, the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Council has committed more than $1.1 million to organizations across Ohio in 2013.
To be considered for support, perspective grantee organizations must submit applications through the Walmart Foundation State Giving Program’s online grant application. Applicants must have a current 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in order to meet the program’s minimum eligibility criteria.
Additional information about the program’s funding guidelines and application process are available online at www.walmartfoundation.org/stategiving.