Walmart Seeking Food Donations for “Associates in Need”

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November 18, 2013; MSNBC

In a Cleveland, Ohio Walmart, management has placed two bins underneath a sign reading, “Please donate food items here so Associates in Need can enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner.” Kory Lundberg, a spokesperson for Walmart, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that it was for employees “who have had some hardships come up.”

“This is part of the company’s culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships,” said Lundberg. But let’s put this in context. Most Walmart employees make less than $25,000 annually, which forces many of them onto food stamps. One study performed by the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce found that in one Walmart location, workers made use of between $96,007 and $219,528 in food stamps in one year.

Translation: this means that the government and now other Walmart associates are subsidizing Walmart’s profits, and in this Walmart is not alone. Researchers from the University of California Berkeley and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have found that families of fast-food employees receive about $1 billion in food stamps per year.

NPQ would like to point out that it might do us all well, five days after the so-called “National Philanthropy Day,” to pause for a moment to ask ourselves about the integrity of philanthropy in this kind of appalling economic context.—Ruth McCambridge

  • Marlene Grattan

    Please pay the workers enough so they and their children can eat without being given food stamps. Walmart is making more moeny than it should. Why not spread it around and five these people a modest holiday. I’m not saying they need to make $50,000 a year but $30,000 t0 $35,000 would make a huge difference in their lives.

  • Claudette Goldberg

    If you look at the fact that Walmart is collecting food donations, presumably food purchased at that Walmart, it means that Walmart is making margin on every item of food collected.

  • R. Ruth Linden, PhD

    Dear Marlene,

    In many communities and for many families, $50 K per year is not a lavish wage but a living wage and not at all unreasonable. I do not know whether the problem of working poor is unique to the US but it is ubiquitous. I just received this in this morning’s email:

  • donna rogers