Published: Apr 03, 2013 9:14 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 04, 2013 10:52 AM EDT

FORT MYERS. Fla.- The public's “vote” is needed to help the Harry Chapin Food Bank click its way to a grant from Walmart by voting for the food bank in the "Fighting Hunger Together" initiative.  This is a national campaign with funds awarded to organizations receiving the most votes for their innovative and effective programs that help alleviate child hunger.

The public is asked to go to the Harry Chapin Food Bank’s web site, www.harrychapinfoodbank.org and click on the Walmart “Fighting Hunger Together” logo. Visitors to the page are awarded one "vote" a day.  At the conclusion of the voting, organizations receiving the most votes will split $3 million in funding from Walmart.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank is a member of Feeding America and has the opportunity to receive one of 40 grants of $45,000 each; this would result in the food bank being able to distribute $270,000 to those children in need. Voting will be live from April 1 through April 30, 2013.  More than 300 hunger relief organizations across the country are in competition for votes. The more votes a Feeding America food bank or partner agency receives the better the chances it has of winning the money.  

The child hunger projects submitted through this grant opportunity will be voted on by the general public as part of the Walmart Fighting Hunger Together Spring 2013 program.   Funds received must be used for national child hunger programs(i.e., BackPack, School Pantry, Summer Food Service, Kids Cafe, and Afterschool Snack) and/or other initiatives that have a clear, direct, and measurable impact on reducing child hunger in the communities served.

"Walmart has come up with a way to engage the community in the fight against hunger. Coming into summer this support will make a real difference in the lives of so many children in need," said Al Brislain, Harry Chapin president and chief executive officer. "Together, Walmart and the Harry Chapin Food Bank are fighting hunger and helping families in their struggle towards self-sufficiency."

Funding for child hunger programs is especially critical given the significant need that exists. According to the USDA, more than 16 million children in the United States struggle with hunger. Here in our communities, there are over 60,000 children who struggle with hunger.  Sixty grants of $20,000 eachwill be made to partner agencies. 

For more information and to vote for the Harry Chapin Food Bank, please go to www.harrychapinfoodbank.org.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank solicits, collects and stores quality food for distribution to families in need through a network of 150 nonprofit agencies in Lee, Collier, Hendry, Charlotte and Glades counties that provide food to more than 30,000 people monthly.  Over 1 million pounds of food are distributed by the Harry Chapin Food Bank monthly.  For every dollar donated, about $6 in food value goes back to the community.  In the past fiscal year, the Harry Chapin Food Bank distributed more than 15.1 million pounds of food and other grocery items valued at more than $25 million. This is roughly the equivalent of 12.5 million meals to people in need.

For additional information about or to contribute financially to the Harry Chapin Food Bank, contact 239-334-7007 or go to harrychapinfoodbank.org.