Walmart launches "Fighting Hunger" campaign

Walmart's Fighting Hunger Together campaignWalmart's Fighting Hunger Together campaignSince coming close to winining $1 million in grants to fight hunger last year, Fresno, as well as surrounding Valley communities, have another chance to win Walmart's "Fighting Hunger Together" campaign.

Fresno came second last year behind Salt Lake City in the number of "Likes" the city received on the Facebook voting competition.

In the end, Fresno received 4.1 million votes to Salt Lake City's 5.3 million in a last-minute surge to take the prize.

Although Fresno and Bakersfield both pulled within the top six in the race to feed the hungry, both received $100,000 each for being runner-ups.

This year, the retailer is offering up $2 million in total grants, with $1 million going to the winner and $50,000 to 20 cities with the next strongest online support.

Besides Fresno, Valley residents may also cast their "Likes" for Merced, Visalia, Porterville, Hanford, Corcoran, Madera and Chowchilla.

Voters can choose among 200 communities in the competition through April 30 at

The Community Food Bank reports that 27.2 percent of individuals experienced food hardship in the Fresno region in 2010, up from 24.1 percent in 2009.

The organization, which distributes donated food to more than 70 Valley nonprofit partners, says that $1 million could buy $8 million worth of food for the needy.