Walmart, Walmart Foundation Gave More Than $1 Billion in 2012

and the have announced that together they awarded more than $1 billion in cash and in-kind contributions during 2012 — the first time a U.S. retailer has achieved that milestone.

The $1.08 billion awarded by the giant retailer and its foundation in the represents an increase of roughly $128 million over the amount awarded the previous year. According to the company, the growth in giving was largely due to its increased support for U.S. foodbanks and families affected by natural disasters.

Cash and in-kind contributions made by the company and its foundation included more than 351 million meals to local foodbanks through ; 1 million bottles of water to people affected by Superstorm Sandy; and $1.9 million in grants to to provide 122,000 families with the skills and resources needed to prepare healthy, affordable meals. Outside the U.S., the retailer donated more than 23,000 tons of food to hunger relief organizations in Mexico, while Walmart Canada raised more than $3 million to help support 1,251 programs. In addition, Walmart stores and gave $4.9 million to first responders, including nearly $3 million to local law enforcement agencies, while the gave more than $106 million in cash and in-kind gifts to help small business owners and nonprofits build their capacity.

"At Walmart we believe in taking care of our neighbors and our communities," said Walmart executive vice president of corporate affairs Leslie Dach. "We serve people who fight hard for their families, and we are going to fight for them. We have a responsibility to do what we can to give them better options and better lives."

"." Walmart Press Release 04/22/2013.