How Sam’s Club members can help fight hunger in North Carolina

Purchasing Cheerios, Lucky Charms, granola bars and fruit roll-ups can help reduce hunger through a new Sam’s Club initiative.

The warehouse club chain launched “Meals for Members” on Feb. 28 to support Feeding America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to hunger relief.

Through March 31, Sam’s Club members can participate by purchasing qualifying products, redeeming their purchases online at SamsClub.com/GiveMeals and entering their zip code to route meals to their local food bank. About 200 food banks are included in Feeding America’s network, including the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina .

A single item purchased is equivalent to 12 meals.

“This initiative is really exciting,” said Jessica Whichard, a spokeswoman for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. “We hope it will help raise awareness about a big issue in our community. It’s amazing to have this support.”

The Food Bank distributes around 54 million meals and 64 million pounds of food products annually.

Members can also text “Meals” to 35350 and enter their zip code to have a donation sent to their local food bank. For each text, $1.08 is donated to Feeding America from General Mills, which is enough to supply 12 meals. Someone can only text a donation once from their phone number.

More than 1.7 million North Carolina residents - including some 131,000 in Wake County - struggle to afford enough nutritious food or have limited access to grocery stores, according to a 2014 study by Feeding America.

The campaign’s goal is to secure 2.5 million meals for Feeding America and its network of food banks.

Qualifying items:

▪  Honey Nut Cheerios – 48 oz.

▪  CTC – 49.05 oz

▪  Lucky Charms

▪  Mott’s Fruit Shapes – 90 ct.

▪  Nature Valley Crunch ONH Bars – 49 ct.

▪  Nature Valley Protein – 26 ct.

▪  Nature Valley SNS Almond – 48 ct.

▪  Nature Valley SNS Peanut – 48 ct.

▪  Fruit Roll Up

▪  Nature Valley Chewy Trail Mix

▪  Bisquick Mix 96 oz.

▪  Prego Traditional Italian Sauce – 67 oz., 2 ct.

▪  100% Pure Raw and Unfiltered Honey – 40 oz.

▪  Cup Noodles Chicken Flavor – 2.25 oz., 24 pk.

Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler