Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Wal-Mart Stores this week released their complete list of grant recipients following their month-long online “Fighting Hunger Together” campaign. The list included three foodbanks and six agencies, including the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund of Portsmouth, which received the most votes to finish in first place.
During the month of April, individuals were invited to vote online once every day for one foodbank or partner agency. Nearly 300 foodbanks and agencies from all across the United States were on the list. At the end of the month the top 40 foodbanks with the most votes were each given $45,000 ($1.8 million total), and the top 60 agencies were each given $20,000 ($1.2 million total).
When the campaign ended on April 30, 443,000 votes had been cast online and the Hope Fund led agencies in first place with 11,605 votes — 3,215 votes ahead of second place, which went to Twigs Family Treehouse in Brooklyn, N.Y. with 8,390 votes.
“I was really overwhelmed. Talk about this community stepping to the plate and pulling together — something that we get criticized so often for not doing — it’s just amazing how this community rallied around this cause and wanted to make sure there was no doubt that we got that grant. We are just so blessed,” said Mark Hunter, of the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund.
Named in the memory of their son, Mark and Virgie Hunter started the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund Powerpack Program in 2010 with 120 students at the Portsmouth City School District. Today the program has grown to serve nearly 500 students in nine local school districts. The program provides each student with five pounds of food to take home for the weekend.
“We hope that the organizations benefitting from these funds will be able to continue and expand the positive work they are doing in local communities,” said Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Wal-Mart Foundation. “We want to thank all those who participated in this campaign for their commitment to hunger relief, and we hope that the impact of the grant dollars we award will combine with new volunteers and greater public awareness of this issue to make a lasting impact in communities throughout the country.”
The top 60 agencies that will receive grant money are:
Steven A Hunter Hope Fund, Inc. (Portsmouth, OH), Twigs - The Family Treehouse (Granite City, IL), Hyland Heights Baptist Church, Inc. (Rustburg, VA), Metro World Child (Brooklyn, NY), Ringgold United Methodist Church D/B/A Nourishing Children in Catoosa (Ringgold, GA), First United Methodist Church of Chatsworth (Chatsworth, GA), Victory Dream Center (Carbondale, IL), StoreHouse Ministries (Wartburg, TN), Emmaus Mission Center, Inc. (Logansport, IN), S.O.S. Backpack Ministry (Hendersonville, TN), Loaves and Fishes of Northwest Oklahoma (Enid, OK), FOCUS North America (Pittsburgh, PA), Hope Distributed Community Development Corporation (Harrisonburg, VA), New Covenant Community Church (Audubon, NJ), The Cross Matthew’s Market (Rochester, IN), The Salvation Army (El Cajon, CA), Signal Crest United Methodist Church (Signal Mountain, TN), Westerville Area Resource Ministry (Westerville, OH), Brighton Center, Inc. (Newport, KY), Evangelical Covenant Church (Lafayette, IN), Weakley County Backpack Program (Dresden, TN), Youth Services of Tulsa, Inc. (Tulsa, OK), Grundy County Food Bank (Tracy City, TN), Kids of the Community (McMinnville, TN), Hunt County Shared Ministries (Greenville, TX), Georgetown-Chunchula United Methodist Church (Chunchula, AL), Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeastern Pennsylvania (Scranton, PA), Owsley County Outreach Corporation (Booneville, KY), The Open Door/Cape Ann Food Pantry, Inc. (DBA:The Open Door), (Gloucester, MA), Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio (Worthington, OH), Community Cupboard (Belvidere, IL), Hands of Hope Outreach/Victory Life Food Bank (Durant, OK), Family Assistance Ministries (San Clemente, CA), Metrocrest Social Services (Farmers Branch, TX), Appalachian Outreach (Jefferson City, TN), Jewish Family Service of San Diego (San Diego, CA), New Hope Ministries (Dillsburg, PA), Helping Our People in Elsinore, Inc. (Lake Elsinor, CA), Seed for His Harvest Ministries (El Paso, TX), Hope Center for Kids (Omaha, NE), Kingdom Kids of Tampa Bay, Inc (Temple Terrace, FL), Ronald McDonald House Charities San Diego (San Diego, CA), Food for Thought, Inc. (Manteo, NC), Feeding Our Communities Partners (Mankato, MN), TNKids Nutrition, Inc. (Springfield, TN), Loving Hearts Outreach (Washington, MO), The Golden Backpack Program (Golden, CO), Fern Creek Elementary School Foundation Inc. (Orlando, FL), Metropolitan Family Service (Portland, OR), Madisonville Education and Assistance Center, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH), Edenton-Chowan Food Pantry (Edenton, NC), First United Methodist Food Pantry (Ashland, KY), Haven From Hunger (Peabody, MA), Broad Street Presbyterian Church Food Pantry (Columbus, OH), About Our Kids, Inc. (Lamar, MO), Food For Thought – Denver (Arvada, CO), Missoula Food Bank (Missoula, MT), Inter Parish Ministry (Cincinnati, OH), Christ’s Food Center, Inc. (Hodgen, OK), and Dover First Seventh-Day Adventist Church (Dover, DE).
The top 40 foodbanks that will receive grant money are:
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee (Gray, TN), Regional East Texas Food Bank (Tyler, TX), El Pasoans Fighting Hunger (El Paso, TX), Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee (Maryville, TN), Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties (San Jose, CA), Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin (Madison, WI), Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County (Sharon, PA), Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC (Winston-Salem, NC), Feeding South Dakota (Sioux Falls, SD), Tarrant Area Food Bank (Fort Worth, TX), FOOD Inc DBA Community Food Bank (Fresno, CA), Food Bank of Northern Nevada (McCarran, NV), Golden Harvest Food Bank, Inc. (Augusta, GA), Channel One, Inc. (Rochester, MN), Roadrunner Food Bank, Inc. (Albuquerque, NM), St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance (Phoenix, AZ), Chattanooga Area Food Bank (Chattanooga, TN), Cleveland Foodbank, Inc. (Cleveland, OH), St. Louis Area Food Bank Inc. (Bridgeton, MO), Food Bank of Corpus Christi (Corpus Christi, TX), FOOD Share (Oxnard, CA), Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina (Raleigh, NC), Utah FoodBank (Salt Lake City, UT), Second Harvest Food Bank of San Joaquin & Stanislaus Counties (Manteca, CA), Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Inc. (Orlando, FL), God’s Pantry Food Bank (Lexington, KY), Harvesters - The Community Food Network (Kansas City, MO), Foodbank of Santa Barbara County (Santa Barbara, CA), Kansas Food Bank Warehouse, Inc (Wichita, KS), Greater Berks Food Bank (Reading, PA), Weld Food Bank (Greeley, CO), Mid-Ohio Foodbank (Grove City, OH), Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida (Fort Myers, FL), Northern Illinois Food Bank (Geneva, IL), West Ohio Food Bank (Lima, OH), The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri, Inc. (Columbia, MO), Food Bank of the Albemarle (Elizabeth City, NC), Vermont Foodbank (Barre, VT), Harvest Texarkana Regional Food Bank, Inc (Texarkana, AR), and Food Bank of the Southern Tier (Elmira, NY).
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.