In 2017, Walmart associate Adam Holland joined six other senior directors from across Walmart to assist The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City for two weeks. Their goal? To help refine the nonprofit’s process and take its services to the next level in addressing hunger. The group was part of Walmart's BRIDGE program, a program where associates use their expertise to increase efficiencies in order to strengthen operations for nonprofits.
Before leaving for Oklahoma, the group defined their mission and what they hoped to deliver for the Food Bank. Once on site, they spent several days meeting with executives, touring the facilities and visiting some of the local food pantries served by the Regional Food Bank. The Walmart group used the information they gathered from their tours and interviews to develop a draft framework for scaling the network of pantries. They then presented their draft to the team at Food Bank, gathered feedback and created a final version of a ramework, which included four elements:
• Expanding access to the pantries
• Expanding client choice
• Encouraging consumption of nutritious foods
• Offering additional services and connections to services
Katie Fitzgerald, CEO of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, says the Walmart team helped them meet and exceed their ultimate goal. "It would have taken us months to get to where we got to with this team in a matter of a couple weeks' time," said Fitzgerald.
The BRIDGE program experience was equally impactful for the Walmart volunteers. "I am humbled by what I have seen today," said Adam. "I'm proud of the company I work for, which not only allows me this time to volunteer, but also supports the Food Banks’ efforts on the front lines!" The Food Bank, which serves 53 counties in Oklahoma, delivered 52.2 million pounds of food from July 2016 to June 2017, including 10.3 million pounds from Walmart. The Food Bank also assists senior citizens and children. Last year, they helped feed over 44,000 kids with its Food for Kids programs.