Wal-Mart says it will donate $2 billion worth of food, refrigerated trucks and other aid to U.S. food banks over the next five years, a commitment that more than doubles its annual rate of giving.
The company says the effort will include an estimated 1.1 billion pounds of food that goes unsold at its stores or is close to expiration dates.
Wal-Mart Vice Chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright says in a statement released by the world's biggest retailer that "increasingly, we see opportunities to use our scale and reach to solve challenges in our communities. This is one of those times."
As The New York Times notes:
"While the economy seems to be turning around, the number of people turning to charities to help put food on their tables continues to grow. A recent survey by Feeding America found that 37 million people a year now use its national network of food banks, a 46 percent increase from 2006. The survey drew on interviews with more than 61,000 people who use food banks, as well as reports from 37,000 food banks across the country.
"Put another way, 1 in every 8 Americans uses a food bank to make ends meet, the survey said."