Donations Should Not Equal Support For Walmart

New York– Walmart Free NYC, a coalition of small businesses, clergy, community groups and community activists called on New York’s food advocacy community to show its independence today in light of Walmart’s donations to foodbanks across the country. While donations are a good thing for the foodbanks, donations from Walmart should not guarantee support for company with long history of killing jobs, small businesses and low wages- helping to exacerbate the hunger problem in America.

“Like they have in other cities, Walmart is trying to win the hearts of New Yorkers through donations and expensive PR campaigns,” said Anna Lappé, a food advocate and co-founder of the Small Planet Institute. “Studies have shown that because of Walmart’s low wages and benefits, its employees rely on food stamps and other social services far more than the typical retail employee. That means even though Walmart is spending a lot of time and money saying they’re fighting hunger, the company is actually exacerbating the problem of hunger in America.”

“I’ve worked hand and hand with New York’s wonderful food advocates for years, and I know donations won’t silence their advocacy,” said Pat Purcell, Assistant to the President of UFCW Local 1500. “Walmart can try all they like, but New Yorkers are independent, and no amount of money will change that.”

Studies have shown that Walmart destroys small businesses and jobs when it opens up in urban neighborhoods. A study published by the Center for Urban Research and Learning Loyola University Chicago found that after a Walmart store opened in the Austin neighborhood in 2006, over 25% of area businesses sampled closed.  Stores that were near Walmart were “more likely to go out of business eliminating the equivalent of about 300 full time jobs—about as many as Walmart initially added to the area.”

An author of that study found that, “the findings support the contention that urban Walmart stores absorb sales from other city stores without significantly expanding the market.” In addition, the study found that there was no increase in retail activity or employment opportunities.

Walmart Free NYC is a coalition of workers, small business owners, community leaders, clergy and elected officials who are committed to increasing economic opportunities, preserving local businesses, and creating more jobs in communities across New York’s five boroughs.