I had the unique privilege of helping to feed children in the country of Morocco over the course of the last 15 months or so, culminating in an event in March 2023. That effort was part of our global youth initiative to help spread a message of peace through soccer around the world. When we go on these soccer missions in places such as Morocco, we almost always make an attempt to feed the children in the process. That is what we did during our various camps in Morocco in 2022 and 2023: We served up about 250 meals each day over the course of several days. What affected me the most, though, was one series of particular events that began in this way:
One day while feeding a young Moroccan soccer camper at our youth soccer clinic in Marrakech, the player’s older father approached us in a most humble and heartfelt manner. He (the father) whispered something in Arabic to one of our soccer coaches. I could tell it was a special exchange. The coach
came to me and said, “Could we spare an extra sandwich; this child’s family is also hungry.”
Needless to say, I choked up before saying: “Of course. That’s the least we can do.” (See www.GlobalSocerPeace.org for more.)
So, this morning while eating a bowl of Cheerios, I noticed a message on the box: “Fight Hunger: Spark Change.” I thought, ‘What a wonderful initiative.’ General Mills, the owner of the Cheerios brand, states that “Every 1 Makes A Difference: For every participating item purchased, General Mills will help secure a meal** on behalf of local Feeding America food banks.” I then read the double asterisk (**) section at the bottom of the cereal box. It said:
** For every participating General Mills purchased at Walmart between 4/101/23 and 5/8/23, General Mills will donate
$0.10 to Feeding America – enough to help Feed America
secure 1 meal on behalf of its member food banks … Now, this seems like a very positive initiative, however … What is the “however” anyways, and why would I say that?
Well, let’s explore the earnings of General Mills for a moment, a
premier food company in America and around the globe. Macrotrends.net reported this about General Mills:
General Mills gross profit for the twelve months ending February 28, 2023 was $6.588B, a 5.99% increase year-over-year.
- General Mills annual gross profit for 2022 was $6.402B, a 71% decline from 2021.
- General Mills annual gross profit for 2021 was $6.448B, a 19% increase from 2020.
- General Mills annual gross profit for 2020 was $6.13B, a 48% increase from 2019.
Considering that its gross profit exceeded $6 billion each year for the past several years, it would be great to imagine a General Mills company that would give even more of its profit to underprivileged communities around the world.
I’m not criticizing General Mills, but I’m encouraging the company to do more. It’s on the right path, I believe, however … it can do so much more. When considering the impact that just a fraction of $6 billion can have on hungry communities around the world, General Mills could have a greater effect if it really put in more of an effort.
Additionally, Walmart is the “partner” of this General Mills project, and that, too, is a good thing. Having said that, let’s consider the earnings of Walmart:
Walmart gross profit for the twelve months ending January 31, 2023 was $147.568B, a 2.65% increase year-over-year.
- Walmart annual gross profit for 2023 was $147.568B, a 65% increase from 2022.
- Walmart annual gross profit for 2022 was $143.754B, a 54% increase from 2021.
- Walmart annual gross profit for 2021 was $138.836B, a 33% increase from 2020.
Only imagine what a portion of $147.56 billion could have on world hunger. Needless to say, a tiny fraction could help enormously.
We have an obligation to attempt to feed as many hungry people as possible—all of us, and on a daily basis. The late, great Harry
Belafonte used to say that we are all part of the same “human family.” This implies an interdependent scenario that obligates us to help each other, especially those who are less fortunate. If all the food companies in the world were to dedicate just a little more of their net or gross profits, we would probably be close to eradicating hunger. Thank you, General Mills and Walmart, but let’s try to do more.