Walmart has certainly gotten some bad press lately, having been shunned for its spot on the “Black Thursday” list of stores open on Thanksgiving, and now people are appalled that a Walmart location in Oklahoma, for the second year in a row, is asking for employee food donations for their co-workers in a holiday food drive.
The move drew criticism last year when several Walmart locations did the same thing. However, in response to both last year and this year, Walmart is claiming that the reasoning behind the food drive does not have anything to do with regular wages received by employees, but rather is meant as a system to help out those on medical leave, or who have experienced tragedies, like a house fire.
“Two associates are on medical leave of absence and are unable to work, leaving their families who depend on two incomes down to only one,” Oklahoma City Walmart dairy manager Dawane Sulatis told Think Progress. “I think that putting a Thanksgiving meal on the table should be the last thing these people have to worry about, and so my next question was whether I could start a food drive at the store to help them out.”
But the Walmart CEO last year estimated that the majority of its employees make around $25,000, or just above the poverty line of around $23,000. Walmart also runs an “Associates in Critical Need Fund,” which aims to raise money all year-round for workers who simply can’t get by.
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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi