FOCUS receives $20,000 Walmart Grant

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FOCUS Pittsburgh Wins $20,000 Grant as Part of Walmart’s Fighting Hunger Together Initiative — One of 100 organizations selected to receive part of $3 million in grants to fight hunger this spring

Pittsburgh, PA, May 10, 2013 – FOCUS North America’s (Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve) Pittsburgh Center has been selected as one of 60 winning hunger  relief agencies to receive a $20,000 grant from Walmart’s Fighting Hunger Together initiative. The grant will help fund its BackPack Feeding Program for underserved school children in Pittsburgh.  During April consumers voted for more than 300 Feeding America Food Banks and their Partner Agencies by visiting www.walmart.com/hunger.  As a result of the votes cast, 100 Food Banks and Partner Agencies will receive a total of $3 million in grants — 40 Feeding America member food banks will receive $1.8 million in grants ($45,000 each) and 60 of their partner agencies will receive $1.2 million in grants ($20,000 each).

FOCUS Pittsburgh is one of 61,000 Feeding America partner agencies located throughout the United States. The Feeding America network of food banks and their partner food assistance agencies, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters and after-school programs, feed 37 million people annually, including nearly 14 million children.  FOCUS North America is a national movement of Orthodox Christians, united in faith and joined by a desire to provide action-oriented and sustainable solutions to poverty in communities across America— offering job training and placement, housing, and feeding programs, as well as other human services to the homeless and working poor across America.

Paul Abernathy, Director of the Center stated that FOCUS Pittsburgh’s BackPack Program currently serves children in Hill District Community Schools.  The mission of the BackPack Feeding Program is to meet the needs of hungry children by providing them with nutritious and easy-to-prepare food to take home on weekends and school vacations when other resources are not available.  Currently, FOCUS Pittsburgh’s Backpack Feeding Program for academic year 2012-2013 serves 172 students from A. Leo Weil Elementary School and Miller African Centered Academy. The Partner Agency Grant will allow the program to serve an additional 150 children.

Mr. Abernathy expressed his deep appreciation to the WalMart Foundation and Fighting Hunger Together for providing this opportunity and to The Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank for selecting FOCUS as one of five of its partner agencies eligible to apply for the grant and for its support throughout the campaign.  Mr. Abernathy also thanked the Hill District Community, FOCUS staff and office volunteers, the over 78 Orthodox Churches in the Western Pennsylvania area that actively support and are deeply involved in FOCUS’ ministry and Walmart customers throughout the country who cast their votes to support not only FOCUS, but the many Food Banks and Partner Agencies who fight hunger each day.

Julie Gehrki, senior director of the Walmart Foundation said, “We want to thank the local organizations, volunteers and customers who participated in this campaign and work to support their communities year round. Through their efforts, we can bring attention to the need local communities experience during the spring months and help fill the gap by providing ways for customers to generate millions of meals and volunteer.”

The Fighting Hunger Together initiative is part of Walmart’s and the Walmart Foundation’s $2 billion commitment through 2015 to fight hunger. To learn more about the program and Walmart’s commitment, visit www.walmart.com/hunger.

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