A Walmart store has launched a desperate appeal for food donations… for its own staff.

The supermarket giant has come under fire in the US overnight after a store in Ohio launched a campaign looking for canned goods for its own employees in order to help them enjoy Thanksgiving next week.

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The food drive has sparked outrage

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Walmart, the biggest retailer in the world with recorded profits of $15.7 billion last year, has been blasted by charities who accused the retail giant of not looking after staff.

A photograph, distributed by Our Walmart – a group which has repeatedly called on the retail giant to unionise its employees – has circulated online showing several large plastic bins at the Ohio store.

A sign next to the containers reads: “Please donate food items here so Associates in Need can enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner.”

An advocacy group called Organisation United for Respect slammed the setting up of bins, saying Walmart employees don’t make enough to feed themselves and their families.

"Walmart is asking us to donate food to our coworkers. Why can't Walmart pay us enough so we can feed our families?"

The group's web page quotes someone named Jamaad Reed of Cincinnati, identified as a Walmart Associate, saying "If I made $25,000/yr, I wouldn't have to rely on food stamps."

Speaking to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, an employee of the store, Tiffany Beroid, said it was not unusual for employees to receive government assistance.

“This is the first time I’ve seen them ask associates for donations for Thanksgiving, but I know associates at my store experience struggling to feed their families everyday.

"Most of them rely on food banks,” she said.

But a spokesman for Walmart reacted angrily to the way the story is being reported.

He said the store, which has around 300 employees had been hosting a food drive over the Thanksgiving holiday for years.

“Quite frankly, a lot of people in that store are frustrated and offended that this is reported in a way besides other folks rallying around each other,” he said.

“I couldn’t be prouder of people in that store helping in a tough situation,” he said.

The comments follow McDonald's workers being advised by their employer to apply for food stamps and health care.

A McDonald's worker struggling to get by on poverty wages was left less than impressed after she called the company's "McResource Line" – a service provided to McDonald's workers who need help with issues like child and health care.