Feed the Children, and you can make a difference in the lives of struggling families
Due to the far-reaching effects of the pandemic, 2021 has been a difficult year for vulnerable children and families who have experienced widespread hardship and uncertainty. Millions of families across the country are facing an extended cycle of food insecurity due to the pandemic, ever-rising living costs, and struggles to catch up on. Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, works with corporate and community partners, donors, and individuals to create a world where no child goes to bed hungry.
“Feed the Children exists with one goal — to end childhood hunger,” says Travis Arnold, Feed the Children’s president and CEO. “The team at Feed the Children is on the phone every weekday calling producers, distributors, and other sources of food and delivering them through a network of community nonprofits across the country.”
Through this network, Feed the Children distributes shelf-stable food and essential items (like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and personal care items), books, and educational supplies to some of the most at-risk communities in the United States. They also have incredible volunteers who aid in this massive effort. Last year alone, the non-profit aided 5.6 million children and families in the U.S. by distributing more than 79 million pounds of food and household items valued at nearly $330 million. Despite the organization’s ongoing efforts, those facing food insecurity in the U.S. and globally have been hit hard by compounding crises; a global pandemic, and now a congested and overwhelmed global supply chain.
“Although the economy is continuing to recover, in November alone, nearly 20 million adults and one in eight parents reported their household didn’t have enough to eat,” said Arnold. “When asked why, more than 80 percent said they couldn’t afford to buy more food. Right now the supply chain crisis is impacting availability and driving prices up.”
To meet these immense challenges, Arnold says Feed the Children learned to be nimble and adapt to the situation in real-time, and it relies on strong relationships with its corporate and community partners. This has allowed the nonprofit to stand in the gap and help meet the needs of families in these historic times. Arnold credits the strong partnerships and its thousands of volunteers for the organization’s ability to overcome these challenges.
Generous donations from the public greatly aid Feed the Children in meeting these challenges. Struggling children need help more than ever during the continuing pandemic. Every dollar donated provides $8 of food, essentials, and more to hungry children and families in the U.S. and around the world.
Feed the Children also takes great pride in being on the front lines when natural disasters strike in America. In 2020 the organization distributed more than $4 million to aid disaster responses in communities devastated by hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires.
“We worked with community partners in Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to provide supplies including bottled water, shelf-stable food, and snacks, hygiene items, face masks, cleaning supplies, and Kid’s Disaster Packs,” said Arnold. “Each pack includes hygiene items, toys, activities, and safety items as well as The Comfort Quilt — a coloring book with helpful counseling resources for children.”
Although the organization is focused on feeding hungry kids, it also takes unique approaches to provide an even greater impact on the lives of children. One of these approaches is a focus on education. In 2020, Feed the Children provided more than $3.7 million in school supplies to 17,000 teachers across 355 school districts in the U.S. It also distributed more than $7 million in books to more than 574,000 students.
“We work with partners to host events where families, students, and teachers receive free books and school supplies,” said Arnold. “This allows the families we serve to use their household budget for food, essentials, and other needs while helping provide the items children require to be successful in the classroom.”
Arnold remembers attending one of these school supply events and how one little girl touched his heart forever.
“One of my most memorable experiences was when I attended a Homeless Education and Literacy Program (H.E.L.P.) backpack distribution,” said Arnold. “We distributed backpacks filled with school supplies, snacks, and personal care items to homeless children. As I handed a young girl a backpack, she looked up at me and asked, ‘can I keep this? Is this mine?’”
Arnold said in the past 10 years Feed the Children has distributed more than a million backpacks to children across the country. With every backpack, he’s reminded of that little girl and how each backpack has the potential to change a child’s life.
“I think of her at each backpack distribution, and it resonates with me to this day,” said Arnold. “To me, it was simply a backpack, but it meant so much to her because everything she had was going into that backpack.”
The holiday season is an excellent opportunity to help Feed the Children bring a smile to the face of a hungry child. One out of every six children in America is food insecure, but you can help ensure these children are fed and have a wonderful holiday this year. Feed the Children is asking for community support as they deliver two million meals in the months of November and December to families who need them. Additionally, this support allows the organization to provide children with books and toys so each child can enjoy something special for the holidays.
Give the gift of compassion and help end childhood hunger by donating at feedthechildren.org/nohungerholidays, volunteering at one of the organization’s five distribution centers or distribution events near you, and spreading the message across social media.