The Texas Hunger Initiative at Baylor University has received a $3 million grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation, the university announced this week.

The grant will fund child nutrition programs and university-based research, along with new Hunger Free Coalitions meant to bolster the Texas Hunger Initiative’s eight state offices.

“(The Wal-Mart Foundation) enjoys funding innovation, and that’s something that we have tried to be on the forefront of,” said Jeremy Everett, Texas Hunger Initiative’s executive director.

Everett’s team takes a research-based approach to solving hunger in Texas, and field staffers throughout the state implement resulting programs and policies.

After those strategies are researched, Everett said, policy recommendations are made to Congress.

“You have the federal and state government working more closely together, local communities working more closely together, faith communities working with school districts, you name it,” Everett said. “The result has been extraordinary — increased food for families all across the state, but it’s also resulted in massive savings for bureaucratic spending for state and federal government.”

Karrie Denniston, Wal-Mart Foundation senior director for sustainability, said the Wal-MartFoundation is pleased to help the effort to end hunger in Texas.

“In 2015, Wal-Mart and the Wal-Mart Foundation committed to helping provide 4 billion meals to people in need over the next five years,” Denniston said. “As part of our commitment, we are proud to work with the Texas Hunger Initiative in support of their efforts to find long-term, community-driven solutions to hunger.”

More than 4.5 million people in Texans are food-insecure, according to the Texas Hunger Initiative.

According to the same data, since 2009, 300,000 more students are eating breakfast at school every day, and 10 million more meals are served in school programs.

The Texas Hunger Initiative has partnered with the McLennan County Hunger Coalition and Waco’s NAACP chapter, among other public and private organizations.

Phillip Ericksen joined the Tribune-Herald in March 2015 as a sports copy editor. That November, he joined the news team. He has covered higher education, city hall, politics and crime.

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