A $32 million boost for statewide communities

Homeworks, which repairs the homes of elderly residents and others in need, is among the latest beneficiaries of the Walmart grants.
Homeworks, which repairs the homes of elderly residents and others in need, is among the latest beneficiaries of the Walmart grants. Provided photograph

Efforts to fight hunger and improve housing for seniors and provide other human relief services received a big boost in the Midlands thanks to $32 million in gifts from Wal-Mart.

Senior Resources Inc., Home Works of America and The Salvation Army of The Midlands are among several statewide charities included in Wal-Mart’s most recent Commitment to Charitable Giving in South Carolina campaign.

The campaign supports the Wal-Mart Foundation’s mission of creating opportunities to help people live better.

The South Carolina donation included $31.9 million in gifts to the area charities and others across the state including Golden Harvest Food Bank, Meals on Wheels of Greenville County, Children’s Attention Home of Rock Hill, Charleston’s Center for Women, South Carolina Red Cross of North Charleston, Chesterfield County First Steps and several others.

Area agency leaders credited the recent donation as crucial in supporting their missions of serving the area’s most vulnerable residents.

“With a corps of more than 1200 volunteers, our Meals on Wheels program delivers more than 7,000 hot, nutritious noon-time meals a month to our clients’ homes,” said Pam Dukes, executive director of senior resources, Inc, that seeks to help seniors remain independent. “Wal-Mart Foundation’s donation of more than $47,000 in 2014 for our Meals on Wheels program was absolutely invaluable because without our meal delivery program, many of our clients would be forced to choose between paying for food, medication, or household expenses.”

The Meals on Wheels Association of America ranks South Carolina as one of the top 10 states with the highest hunger risk for seniors, and Senior Resources, the area’s only Meals on Wheels provider, has a waiting list of 125 seniors.

During the past year Wal-Mart and the Wal-Mart Foundation have given more than $1.47 billion in cash and in-kind contributions to support extensive social and environmental work across the globe.

Last year, Wal-Mart delivered on a 2010 commitment to contribute $2 billion to fight hunger. As part of that commitment, Wal-Mart and the Wal-Mart Foundation donated 1.1 billion meals to help Feeding America distribute more perishable food across the country.

The company donated 16.9 million pounds of food ‑ nearly 14.1 million meals ‑ to South Carolina food banks during the last fiscal year.

Wal-Mmart and the Wal-Mmart Foundation have committed to providing 4 billion meals to those in need between 2015 and 2020.

“We are proud to support local organizations and important initiatives in the communities we serve across the state, particularly in the critical areas of hunger relief, sustainability and women’s economic empowerment,” said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Brooke Mueller.

Red Cross summer scholarship program

High school and college students can compete for scholarships this summer by hosting an American Red Cross blood drive through the Leaders Save Lives program.

Registration is now open to host a participating blood drive between June 1 and Aug. 31.

The Leaders Save Lives program encourages 16- to 24-year-olds to host blood drives to help maintain the blood supply over the summer months. Students who participate as a blood drive coordinator are eligible to win a scholarship up to $2,500 for higher education and to earn a gift card.

Ten scholarships will be awarded through a drawing for students who achieve 100 percent of their blood drive collections goal. All students who achieve the designated blood drive goal will receive an electronic gift card ranging from $50 to $200 for giftcertificates.com

For more information and to register to host a Leaders Save Lives blood drive, visit redcrossblood.org/leaderssavelives.