Walmart Launches Family-Focused Healthy Eating Initiative

Lorena Garcia front

Yesterday, the Walmart Foundation announced the start of a summer-long initiative to help children and families gain access to nutritious meals and learn healthy-eating habits. The family-focused initiative includes $15 million in grants that will provide meals and nutrition education to 1.4 million children and families in more than 1,500 communities. The six nonprofit organizations set to receive grant funding from the Walmart Foundation, include: Children’s Health Fund, Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National 4-H Council, National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and YMCA of the USA (The Y). Additionally, as part of the initiative, Walmart kicks off a five-week Eat Healthy Together Challenge today that is designed to encourage families to prepare and eat healthy meals together throughout the summer.

According to a new FRAC report issued earlier this month, the number of children participating in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Nutrition Programs increased last year, yet the need for greater access to meals during the summer months while school is out of session remains significant. Last year, only one in seven children who needed summer meals received them, leaving children vulnerable to negative impacts on their health and development during the summer months when regular school meals are not provided. Eating healthy food reduces a child’s risk of disease, helps maintain proper growth and development and improves their memory and mood, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“We know that summer can be a challenging time for millions of children who rely on the nutrition from free or reduced cost school meals,” said Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Walmart Foundation. “Through our relationships with dedicated nonprofit organizations, this summer, we will further our commitment to help people gain access to healthy foods and develop nutritious eating habits.  We are proud to support this work which will reach over a million children and families in more than 1,500 communities.”

Join Walmart’s Eat Healthy Together Challenge
In addition to the grants from the Walmart Foundation to support nutrition education and healthy summer meals, Walmart is collaborating with Chef Lorena Garcia, renowned chef and author with TV appearances on BRAVO’s “Top Chef Masters” and NBC’s “Biggest Loser”, to launch the Eat Healthy Together Challenge. The challenge encourages families to eat healthy meals together at least three times a week. Families can join the challenge by taking these simple steps (click here for official contest rules):

  1. Follow @WalmartHealthy on Twitter.
  2. Post photos or updates on Twitter of your family eating healthy meals together, and include hashtags #EatHealthyTogether #Contest.
  3. Check out @WalmartHealthy each Monday for the announcement of the winning Challenge Tweet of the week; each winner will be awarded a $25 Walmart gift card.

The challenge will run from Monday, June 30, 2014, through Monday, August 4, 2014, with the first gift card to be awarded on Monday, July 7, 2014. Entries need to be received by 10:00 a.m. ET on Mondays to be considered for the contest each week.

To learn more about meal planning and how families can create healthy meals together, please visit for access to helpful resources:

  • Download, print and post a Challenge Calendar to track each day you eat as a family
  • Get healthy shopping & cooking tips and a recipe from Chef Lorena
  • Check out more tasty summer recipe ideas at

“Parents and caregivers are the single most influential role model when it comes to nutrition, and in turn, it falls on their shoulders to help children learn healthy eating habits,” said Chef Lorena. “Walmart’s Eat Healthy Together Challenge is a fun, interactive way to help encourage more families to eat healthy together by providing them with the resources they need to succeed. Fostering a routine now will help ensure the habit continues during the school year and beyond.”

The grants from the Walmart Foundation will serve families over the next two years through the following programs:

NonprofitGrant AmountGrant Overview
Children’s Health Fund (CHF)$1.1 millionHelp seven mobile medical programs provide nutrition education to low-income children and families in cities including Dallas, Memphis, and New York.
Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)$4 millionSupport advocacy for year-round child nutrition programs and anti-hunger policy, and help more kids access school meals.
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)$450,000Educate Hispanics about healthy eating through community festivals and healthy living support group in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, cooking demonstrations in New York, and a health pledge campaign for LULAC members nationwide.
National 4-H Council$2 millionProvide nutrition education in 24 states for underserved youths and their families.
National Recreation and Park Association$2.3 millionOffer summer and after-school meal and nutrition education programs to low-income children in 50 communities nationwide.
YMCA of the USA (The Y)$5.3 millionServe eight million healthy meals and snacks to 200,000 kids year-round through more than 1,100 summer food and 1,269 afterschool sites nationwide.

Walmart strives to provide customers with healthier and more affordable food choices so families can live better, healthier lives. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation recently met, and exceeded, their $2 billion commitment to fight hunger in America through 2015, and will continue to fund programs intended to increase access to healthy food and provide nutrition education to families nationwide. To learn more about Walmart’s commitments to fight hunger and provide nutrition education, visit

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.