Walmart Foundation Awards More Than $300,000 to Central Illinois Organizations Fighting Hunger

In recognition of September as Hunger Action Month, the Walmart Foundation celebrated the donation of $301,000 in grants to five hunger relief organizations from across Central Illinois at a check presentation ceremony this afternoon. 

• $120,000 to the Peoria division of Midwest Food Bank. Nationally, Midwest Food Bank serves over 1,200 local nonprofits 

• $51,000 to Decatur-based Northeast Community Fund, which distributes food baskets with fresh produce, dairy products and meat 

• $50,000 to Urbana-based Eastern Illinois Foodbank (EIF), which distributes donated and discounted food throughout a 17-county service area 

• $45,000 to Springfield-based Illinois Coalition for Community Services (ICCS), a statewide organization which works to identify and alleviate hunger in low-income, food-insecure communities

• $35,000 to Mattoon-based Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center (SBL), which works to provide homedelivered meals to seniors in a 14-county region of Central Illinois   

“We appreciate Wal-Mart’s understanding that there is not only business needs in our community but personal needs as well,” said Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder. “Springfield is a great city but what will make us even better is to ensure that all of our residents have access to the daily necessities including food. This donation will help our youngest residents receive the nourishment that every child deserves.”   

“I am honored to join the Walmart Foundation today to present over $300,000 in grants to help fight hunger across central Illinois,” said State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (R-99th District). “The Foundation’s commitment to fighting hunger is inspiring to see and I know that these grants will go a long way towards supporting families across central Illinois who are struggling through hard times.”   

“The Walmart Foundation’s donation to the Midwest Food Bank and other Illinois hunger relief organizations is heartwarming. This is much needed support coming up on a season when help is needed the most. Hunger is a daily reality for too many Illinois families and that’s why donations like the Walmart Foundation’s are so important to the communities they serve,” said Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria). “Their contribution is to be commended.”   

“The Walmart Foundation is dedicated to fighting hunger and giving people access to a better life and we are proud to support these organizations that make that happen,” said Walmart Market Manager Susan Farr. “We know that hunger is a reality for many families and, through these grants, we hope to help eliminate the barriers that make it difficult to get enough healthy food to thrive.”   

The grant to the Midwest Food Bank will be used to purchase an additional semi-tractor that delivers food products to facilities from all across the country. The grant will provide sustenance for over 500,000 people in need and help over 300 feeding programs serve communities across Illinois, including community health practitioners who help address hunger.

“Midwest Food Bank is devoted to transforming lives in the communities that we serve,” said Midwest Food Bank Director of Development Jody Smith-Brown. “We are committed to alleviating hunger and poverty and supporting people who are facing tough decisions about whether or not to eat or pay the electric bill.”   

The Northeast Community Fund will use the grant to purchase a new 12-foot refrigerated truck that will allow the organization to gather and safely transport food donations from a larger radius.

“We are thrilled to be a recipient of a grant from the Walmart Foundation,” said Northeast Community Fund Executive Director Jerry Pelz. “The ability to purchase a new refrigerated truck is a tremendous benefit to our operation, which is currently using a single box truck to pick up and handle donated product from our community partners. More and more of our donated product is coming in refrigerated form and this new truck will allow us to receive these goods and process and handle them more efficiently.”   

The grant to Eastern Illinois Foodbank will help fund infrastructure investments in the equipment necessary to handle perishable products at EIF partner agencies, such as coolers and freezers for transporting, storing and distributing food; thermometers and temperature calibration devices; shelving units, carts and more. These investments will help EIF’s partner agencies secure and distribute more nutritious food to families in need.

“Quite simply, we couldn’t do what we do without Walmart,” said Jim Hires, President & CEO of EIF. “We’re so grateful for their consistent, generous support. Locally, Walmart is our strongest retail partnership as the stores in our area donated more than 1.3 million pounds of product last year. Additionally, the Walmart Foundation donated nearly $90,000 in grant funds to Eastern Illinois Foodbank in FY17.”   

ICCS will use the grant funds to purchase over 31,000 meals for hungry children living in poverty across Illinois, as 1 in 5 Illinois children do not have enough food to eat at home. ICCS’ Backpack Bites for Kids Hunger Relief Program seeks to preserve the dignity and welfare of Illinois youth and lessen this terrible burden. “The Walmart Foundation is an invaluable source of community support and pride,” said Jason Gyure, ICCS Executive Director. “The Illinois Coalition for Community Services is thankful for their financial support and welcomes the opportunity to partner with Walmart as we both preserve the dignity of children in need.”   

The grant to Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center will allow the Peace Meal senior nutrition program to replace the cooler-freezer at its Rantoul kitchen, which provides 55,400 meals annually to communities across Champaign, Ford and McLean Counties. The ability to maintain safe food temperatures at the central kitchen is critical for program operation.

“We couldn’t be more excited about receiving this grant and knowing that the Walmart Foundation feels the nutritional needs of our seniors are as important to us as to them,” said Jerry Esker, SBL President & CEO. “These funds will help us keep the food stored at safe temperatures so we can continue to be a trusted source of nutrition for nearly 700 people each year at our Rantoul kitchen.”   

The Walmart Foundation supports organizations that create opportunities so people can live better, awarding grants that have a long-lasting, positive impact on communities across the U.S.    To be considered for support, perspective grantee organizations must submit applications through the Walmart Foundation’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    ###   

About Philanthropy at Walmart By using our strengths to help others, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation create opportunities for people to live better every day. Walmart has stores in 28 countries, employing more than 2.3 million associates and doing business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Through our philanthropy, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are helping people live better by accelerating upward job mobility and economic development for the retail workforce; addressing hunger and making healthier, more sustainably-grown food a reality; and building strong communities where we operate and inspiring our associates to give back. Whether it is helping to lead the fight against hunger in the United States with $2 billion in cash and in-kind donations or supporting Women’s Economic Empowerment through a series of grants totaling $10 million to the Women in Factories training program in Bangladesh, China, India and Central America, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are not only working to tackle key social issues, we are also collaborating with others to inspire solutions for long-lasting systemic change. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit