For the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing stories about local people who are providing hope to their neighbors in the form of food with help from retail partners like Sam’s Club and Walmart. Keep reading to learn how YOU can support their efforts through the the Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign at your local Sam’s or Walmart location.
We had the special opportunity to catch up with one of our partner agencies, Cleburne County Cares, earlier this week to talk about how they’re working to make sure no goes hungry in their community. When you talk to pantry director Bobby Harris, the first thing you’ll learn is that their local operation is fully staffed by volunteers, including himself.
As you walk into their main storage area, you’ll find food neatly tucked away on shelves, clearly labeled to help volunteers easily locate different products like pasta, canned corn and peanut butter. Across the room, you’ll find freezers and refrigeration units that store cold products. “All of what you see here has been donated,” said one volunteer. “It makes a huge difference when we’re able to provide different types of healthy food for families that come see us.”
Speaking of healthy food, in the center of the large space, you’ll find a produce section – complete with fresh apples, oranges, bananas, green peppers, avocados and more. Stocked earlier that morning, these fresh fruits and vegetables were provided by the local Walmart, free of charge, for the pantry to immediately provide to clients visiting later that morning. “We receive about 1,200 pounds of fresh produce a week from our local Walmart,” said Bobby. “We go pick up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday – without their help, we wouldn’t be able to provide this kind of quality food to our families. We wouldn’t be able to afford it if we had to purchase it.”
After earlier preparations had been made, Walmart pickups stocked and food packed into boxes for loading into trunks, families started to arrive. Among them was Christina (pictured below), wife and mother of three. A veteran and chef at a nearby university, she explained that her and her husband both had been temporarily laid off due to the pandemic.
“COVID-19 changed everything for my family. One day, we’re fine and the next, we’re digging through couch cushions to find loose change to buy food. This [pantry] has been a lifesaver for us. It takes the stress off of figuring out how we’re going to make sure we have food one day to the next so that we can focus on paying our light bill and keeping our vehicle. These people don’t judge us – they’re so kind. They hand us food with smiles on their faces and offer up recipes to help us figure out creative ways to prepare it.”
“You have people come in, and after you give them the food, they’re just so grateful,” said Bobby. “We try to reach out and let people in our community know we have plenty of food to give away and that it’s okay to ask for help. There’s a lot of people out there who are in need. I can remember one case of a family that came in…the kids were crying because they were going to have food. I’ll never forget that.
It takes a lot of people, from the volunteers, to the Foodbank, to our local Walmart in order to make it happen. It all works together.”
Food insecurity is an issue in every community, and everyone can help their neighbors who need it most through the “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign. When everyone works together, life gets better, communities become stronger, and real and lasting change can be made. Customers and members can help people facing hunger in our community when they participate in the Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign in the following ways:
- Donate at check-out in stores and clubs, or at either www.FeedingAmerica.org/Walmart or www.FeedingAmerica.org/SamsClub.
- Round-up at check-out on Walmart.com and the Walmart app.
- For every participating product purchased in store or online at Walmart.com or SamsClub.com, the supplier will donate the monetary equivalent of at least one meal ($0.10) on behalf of a Feeding America member food bank at Walmart and five meals ($0.50) at Sam’s Club, up to applicable limits. See specially marked packages for full details.