Basketball star LeBron James is partnering with Walmart to combat hunger in America.
James announced on Thursday that he would be the lead spokesperson for Walmart's Fight Hunger Spark Change campaign, which is raising funds for nonprofit Feeding America through the sales of select products.
James shared the news in a video message alongside Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon.
"One out of 8 Americans struggle with hunger and I think one is too many," he said in the video.
“That one was once LeBron,” reads Walmart’s campaign website.
James, who recently signed a $153 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, struggled to make ends meet during his childhood. He lived with his mom and and moved around in the inner city of Akron, Ohio, surviving on food stamps and the little money the family had.
“During his childhood, a box of cereal on top of the fridge was one thing LeBron could count on. Sometimes he’d have cereal for all three meals and he didn’t mind. Today, LeBron still indulges in a good bowl of cereal, a treat his own kids have come to love as well," the caption accompanying one product says.
The website also features a collection of food items, curated by James himself, highlighting some of the existing products participating in Walmart’s Fight Hunger Spark Change campaign. The products are centered around LeBron and his family’s go-to meal choices.
Currently, for every participating product purchased at Walmart, the retailer will help provide a meal to someone in need through Feeding America. As part of the new partnership with James, Walmart also plans to stock the pantry of James’ I PROMISE School in his hometown with food and supplies. The school opened last year and serves 240 previously under-performing third and fourth graders at risk of not graduating. James, in turn, will help raise awareness for the company’s campaign.
According to Walmart, its campaign Fight Hunger Spark Change has successfully delivered 981,892,712 meals since its inception in 2014.
"What we hope to accomplish together with LeBron is to magnify each other's efforts," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said.. "We would love to help this model that he's creating lead to a situation where it could help even more people."
More than 40 million people in the US experienced food insecurity in 2017, according to a report by Feeding America. Globally, 795 million people live without enough food. But initiatives like these are working to address world hunger one person at a time.
“With one action, one can make a huge impact,” James said.