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