OGDEN -- New trucks to deliver food to people in need will happen because of $100,000 in grants from Walmart's "Fighting Hunger Together" Facebook Campaign.
Walmart officials announced the recipients of the grants at a news conference Thursday at the state Capitol.
The company awarded $1 million to Salt Lake City for its first-place finish in the November and December campaign. The Ogden/Clearfield area was one of six communities to earn a spot just under Salt Lake and earn a $100,000 award.
Officials announced Thursday that the Catholic Community Services Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank will receive $75,000 to buy a refrigeration unit for one truck as well as another refrigerated truck. St. Anne's Homeless Shelter will receive a $25,000 box truck to pick up donated food items and distribute them to a women's shelter.
"Every year, we see an increased need in people coming to our program," said Food Bank Director Marcie Valdez.
She said the opportunity to purchase the refrigerated truck and refrigeration unit offered "a fun and exciting opportunity."
"Walmart is really interested in long-term results and capacity building," she said. "Knowing that, we decided to look at our grocery rescue program and ask for a truck."
Valdez said it's hard for food bank officials to keep asking the community for food. In fact, this month the facility is hosting a new February food drive, which officials plan to continue every year to draw additional collections from the area.
But the director said the grocery rescue program cuts down on the need for donations as food bank workers collect foods that can't be sold in stores because they are about to pass their sell-by date.
"Grocery rescue is a better opportunity to make sure we have fresh meat, fresh dairy and produce," she said. "These are items the food banks always struggle with."
Valdez said that, while the Facebook Challenge has brought a lot of attention to Walmart's charitable efforts, her facility is the recipient of continued support from the Harrisville Walmart that goes unseen.
"The Harrisville Walmart has held a food drive, a coat drive and offers gift cars to families during disasters," she said.
Jennifer Canter, executive director of the St. Anne's homeless shelter, said she was grateful to be a part of the group that received funding.
"I'm grateful to Walmart and everyone that voted and voted and voted on Facebook," she said. "I appreciate Walmart recognizing the need of fighting hunger in our community."
Canter said the new truck will increase the shelter's capacity for serving those in need.
"We'll have better quality meals and fresher products in our meals," she said.
Part of Walmart's $2 billion commitment to help fight hunger through 2015, the Facebook campaign called on Facebook users to "like" one of the 100 hungriest communities in the United States as ranked by the Food Research and Action Center.
According to information the company released, more than 10 million votes were cast during the campaign, which ran from Nov. 15 to Dec. 31.
"When you look at the sheer number of people affected by hunger in our nation, the issue seems insurmountable. But if everyone gets involved and we work together, we can overcome it," said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation, in a news release.
"Our Facebook campaign is a single example of the success we can achieve when corporate, community and nonprofit entities come together and work with millions of Americans toward the common goal of ending hunger in this country."
In the same document, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert was quoted as saying that hunger is a national issue and that officials see the impact of food insecurity in communities across Utah on a daily basis.
"Federal, state, and local governments, nonprofit community organizations, and committed corporate partners must all come together to wage the fight against hunger," Herbert said. "We are grateful to Walmart for taking the lead by providing hunger relief grants to the communities of Salt Lake City and Ogden/Clearfield, and we are proud of the Utahns and friends of Utah across the country who stepped forward to show their support during this campaign."
Besides the Ogden/Clearfield area, other cities to receive $100,000 in Walmart funds are Fresno, Calif.; Columbia, S.C.; Charleston, S.C., and Bakersfield, Calif.
For a complete list of nonprofits receiving funding, visit www.walmart.com/fightinghunger.
Walmart will share success stories, photos and videos on the impact the organizations are making in their communities through its Facebook page.