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IE Food Banks Join Forces To Compete For Major Donations From Walmart To Combat Hunger

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RIVERSIDE – Hunger continues to spread across the Inland Empire as a result of the continuing recession.

“We’re feeding over 400,000 people a month right now, which is almost double what it was when I started here six years ago,” said Tracylyn Sharrit, director of development and marketing for Second Harvest Food Bank in Riverside, which has grown to become one of the nation’s largest distributors of donated food, and is the Feeding America Food Bank serving both counties.

The Inland Empire, in fact, is ranked 4th in the nation for food insecurity, according to the non-profit Food Research and Action Center in Washington, D.C. But help could be on the horizon.

Walmart today has launched a Fighting Hunger Together Facebook Campaign and announced plans to distribute $1 million to the community that receives the most “like” votes on Facebook. Second Harvest has partnered with FIND Food Bank in Indio to compete for the $1 million donation. As of late Monday, the Inland Empire was ranked second in the nation for having the most “likes” on the Wal-Mart Campaign for Hunger Facebook page. “By voting for the Inland Empire on Facebook, you can help our community win this prize,” Sharrit said, adding, “Walmart allows us to vote every 24 hours through April 30th. So, please vote every day!”

Simply go to www.facebook.com/secondharvest.us and “like” us, then click on the following link: http://apps.facebook.com/walmartfighthunger/profile/161?src=vote_share While $1 million will be donated to the community that receives the most “like” votes, the top 20 communities that have the most “likes” will qualify for $50,000 in donations from Walmart, Sharrit said.

“These are critical donations, which we really need to help combat hunger in Riverside and San Bernardino counties,” she said. According the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute, 11 percent of the people in Riverside and San Bernardino counties have limited access to healthy foods, while about a fifth of the population is in poor or fair health.

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