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Wal-Mart gives more

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to significantly ramp up its donations to America’s food banks to $2 billion US over the next five years, the retail giant said yesterday.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to significantly ramp up its donations to America’s food banks to $2 billion US over the next five years, the retail giant said yesterday.

The company is more than doubling its rate of giving as the number of Americans receiving food stamps has risen to one in eight, and food banks are straining to meet demand.

Wal-Mart’s plan comes in two parts: At least $250 million in grants over five years will go to efforts such as buying refrigerated trucks, and programs to feed children during the summer when they’re not in school and receiving government meals.

But the bulk of the donations will consist of more than 1.1 billion pounds of food that doesn’t sell or can’t be sold because it’s close to expiration dates, for example. The company estimates the food will provide one billion meals. Store employees will even offer assistance to food banks to help run their operations more efficiently.

The move extends Wal-Mart’s sharp increases in donations in recent years.

The donations may also represent Wal-Mart playing a bit of catch-up with other grocers. The nation’s second-largest supermarket chain, Kroger Co., donated 50 million pounds of food in 2009.

 
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