Walmart and the Walmart Foundation announced $2.6 million in grants aimed at filling the gaps created in Los Angeles when schools close for the summer. The funding is part of a nationwide, $23.5 million initiative to expand nutrition, learning and employment services for elementary, middle and high school students throughout the summer months.
Grants will be provided to the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce’s Los Angeles Youth at Work initiative, THINK Together, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, the Special Needs Network, Summer Night Lights and the Weingart- East LA YMCA.
"This summer, we're stepping up our efforts to invest in our youth and local communities,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “This partnership with Walmart will help thousands of young Angelenos overcome barriers to employment during the summer months by providing skills training, access to nutritious meals, and educational opportunities.”
According to the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), the primary reason for the achievement gap between higherand lower-income youth is unequal access to summer learning opportunities and critical needs like healthy meals. At a time when many summer programs are being cut due to shrinking budgets, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s summer giving grants will assist in three key areas:
• Providing healthy meals to approximately 1,000 schoolage children in our area, and a total of 8 million healthy meals to more than 85,000 youth.
• Helping 720 local kids enroll in summer learning programs, and helping 20,000 youth nationwide participate in programs that will better prepare them to return to school.
• Providing jobs and skills training to more than 235 local teens and more than 5,000 youth nationwide.
Additionally, Walmart is providing a $730,000 grant and supplies to support the annual Summer Night Lights program, an antigang initiative that keeps parks open after dark with free food and activities. With funding from Walmart, the program will expand to eight additional Los Angeles-area parks.
“The summer months are an important time, especially for families with young children who depend on school food programs as a source of nutritious meals or seek access to enrichment opportunities while school is out,” said Kimberly Sentovich, Senior Vice President for the Pacific Division for Walmart. “Through our commitment and partnership with organizations that provide vital services to youth and their families, we will continue to work together to help end hunger and foster healthy and safe communities in Los Angeles.”
To find additional information on the summer programs that Walmart is supporting and learn more about how Walmart is bringing its commitment to hunger relief to life this summer, visit http://www.walmart.com/fighting hunger/.