Julie Gehrki is being honored as a White House Champion of Change for her leadership and commitment to the ideals of the YMCA.
In the United States, one out of five children lives in a food insecure household. These children experience significant growth and developmental impairments, early onsets of chronic health conditions, lower academic achievement, and higher health care costs. The Walmart Foundation is committed to helping reduce food insecurity by funding food programs that bolster youth development and healthy living efforts at YMCAs across the country.
Since 2011, the Walmart Foundation and Y-USA have collaborated to alleviate food insecurity, teach healthy eating habits to children and their families, and align food programs with national standards adopted by Y out-of-school-time programs. Our collaboration began as an effort to help close summer food gaps. It has grown into a year-round Y initiative that features partnerships with the USDA and the Food Research and Action Center, as well as hundreds of local partners who help YMCAs increase their impacts within their communities.
The Y’s potential to provide sustainable food service to our most vulnerable children continues to grow. The Walmart Foundation’s support helps Y-USA expand USDA-funded food service program sites and bolsters the efforts of YMCAs to deliver innovative food service programs. The Walmart Foundation’s support of YMCA Food Service Programs enables YMCAs to serve nutritious meals to children and teach healthy eating practices in hundreds of communities across the country.
In 2012, support from the Walmart Foundation helped YMCAs serve more than 7 million meals and snacks to more than 200,000 kids. Our continued collaboration will increase the number of YMCAs that participate in USDA food programs, build capacities to foster community partnerships and deliver sustainable programs that alleviate food insecurity.
I’m honored to be recognized as a Champion of Change on behalf of the Walmart Foundation and the work we do with the Y to ensure that all children have access to nutritious food throughout the year.
Julie Gehrki is the Senior Director of the Walmart Foundation