News Roundup, September 29, 2016

Feed the Children Fights Malaria

The Feed the Children office in Uganda distributed insecticide-treated mosquito nets in the Twonokun village, Gulu district. The distribution took place in August, at Sunrise Early Learning Center.

The mosquito nets were distributed as an initiative to prevent malaria, which has been difficult for children in this area.

Feed the Children partnered with the area health officer, Apolo Grace, who informed villagers of the importance of sleeping under treated mosquito nets for malaria prevention.

According to Uganda’s 2014-15 Malaria Indicator Survey, malaria remains one of the most significant diseases in the country, causing substantial morbidity, mortality and negative socio-economic impact.

Major interventions have been undertaken as part of the country’s strategic planning effort to help bring malaria under control in the country.

The Ministry of Health, in partnership with different stakeholders, has intensified efforts to increase access to and use of long-lasting insecticidal nets, which are more durable and cost-effective than untreated nets.

High School Students Participate in 30-mile Bike Ride to Feed 400 Families

img_0751

Feed the Children joined together with 4 Kids for Kids to lend a hand to Hempstead, New York families last week. A total of 400 families took home enough food and essentials boxes to fill a semitruck at the local United Methodist Church.

Because hunger can’t be tackled alone, Feed the Children’s partner agencies — the Long Island Council of Churches, Family and Children’s Association, Catholic Charities of Rockville Centre, United Way of Long Island and the United Methodist Church of Hempstead — pre-identified the 400 families. These families received a 25-pound food box; a 10-pound box of basic essentials like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and personal-care items; and a box of assorted Avon products.

The heroes of the event were four Babylon Village high schoolers who raised funds and completed a 30-mile bike ride to raise money for Feed the Children in May. Emmet Chapey of Chaminade High School and Andrew Szuchy, Jack Hartigan and Matt McGaley of Babylon High School started the 30-mile ride in East Hampton and finished it in Montauk in less than three hours. Their goal was to raise $15,000, but thanks to generous donors, they were able to surpass their goal and raise $15,770.

This event is one of many that Feed the Children has planned across the country. In Hempstead alone, nearly 22 percent of families live below the poverty line. Often, these families are unsure where they will find their next meal.

“Feed the Children strives to provide hope and resources to those without life’s essentials,” said J.C. Watts, Jr., Feed the Children president and CEO. “We are honored to partner with 4 Kids for Kids in the fight to end hunger.”

400 Military Families Receive Food and Necessities

The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes joined Feed the Children to celebrate Colorado Springs military families last week. At the event, a total of 400 military and veterans’ families received food and essentials filling one semitruck at the lot across from Mt. Carmel Center of Excellence. The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes and Mt. Carmel Center of Excellence provide programs and services to military service members and their families, designed to help them with the unique challenges of military life.

The Mt. Carmel Center of Excellence helped pre-identify families at Fort Carson, Peterson AFB, and other veterans organizations. The families each received a 25-pound food box; a 10-pound box of basic essentials like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and personal-care items; and a box of assorted Avon products. Volunteers were also on-site serving and assisting.

Feed the Children is proud to partner with the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes to honor military families. When organizations combine their efforts, they have a greater impact on the lives of those who sacrifice so much for our country.

screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-3-24-08-pmStriking Out Hunger in the Nation’s Capital

Major League Baseball and PepsiCo stepped up to the plate with Feed the Children and community organizations in the Washington DC area last month to help strike out hunger.

Along with food and essentials, families also received Disney books, backpacks, and additional product provided by PepsiCo, Harris Teeter and Bimbo Bakeries.

Vote to Fight Hunger!

screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-2-00-28-pmFeed the Children is currently in the running for the Cat in the Hat for President campaign, and we need your votes! The winning charity receives a significant donation from Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Amazon and Random House Children’s Books.

Click on the following link and cast your vote to fight hunger: http://www.seussville.com/catinhat4prez/

Votes are unlimited but must be completed by November 8. Help the Cat in the Hat fight hunger as his first order of business as the kids’ candidate for president!

Hope Requires Teamwork–A Story from Honduras

At Feed the Children, our mission is to provide hope and resources for those without life’s essentials. We make that happen by partnering with a variety of organizations to provide food, supplies and medication to the people we serve. But our work involves so much more than a handout.

*01-2016HN0014 Marcia Lendo-5Take Marcia, a seven year old living in a desert community in Honduras. Marcia’s is a small village, dealing with extreme poverty. There are more families here than there are houses for them. Marcia’s family is one of the lucky ones, though. Their modest home is built on concrete and actually has running water, a latrine and electricity.

But life is still tough for the family. Marcia lives with her mother and siblings, including an older brother who works and helps with expenses. Her mother works as a housekeeper. Her father is not in the picture.

Their diet consists of tortillas, beans, rice, cheese, and eggs, plus meat when they can get it. But there have been days when they didn’t have enough food. They’ve sometimes had to beg for food from strangers. Her mother has brought in extra laundry to make more money.

Today, Feed the Children operates a Feeding Center in Marcia’s community, which provides five warm and nutritious meals a week for 130 children. We’ve also worked with government and other entities to make sure kids like Marcia receive deworming medication every six months, plus other vitamin supplementation which keeps kids healthy. We also help provide prenatal care for pregnant women, and follow-up care for six months following the birth.

“There have been many changes,” Marcia says. “Mothers and children get ill less, thanks to the support of the Feeding Center and the vitamins given there.”

We’re proud of our work in villages like Marcia’s. But we’re especially proud of the way the community comes together to take ownership of helping change things for the better. Feed the Children provides more than food and vitamins—we do the community development work necessary to help families lift themselves out of poverty.

For example, our feeding centers are staffed by volunteers working together, usually mothers. These volunteers receive training on a range of topics, including nutrition, so they have the knowledge they need to help their kids thrive. That knowledge is power.

According to Irma Rodriguez, Feed the Children Community Development Coordinator in Honduras, “The mothers’ support is vital and very valuable. They are the ones responsible for the meal preparation five days a week. Besides that, they prepare administrative reports of the expenses from the Feeding Center.”

Rodriguez adds that the mothers have taken it upon themselves to organize into teams so be more effective. “Each group has a coordinator, and all of the groups receive training and education. The mothers have learned teamwork, and are working together for the entire community.”

As a single mother of three, Marcia’s mother has plenty to do already. But she gives her time and energy to the Feeding Center because she knows it will help not only her own children, but others in her community.

That’s what it’s all about—communities working together, with Feed the Children providing resources, support, and encouragement.

You can stand with Marcia’s family and so many like her. Click here to find out more about supporting our work.

 

A Gift for Justus

Justus was born with the odds stacked against him.

His family lives in a very poor community in Kenya. At just one month old, Justus was struck with meningitis which led to cerebral palsy. His mother, Gladys, struggled to care for him and her other children.

When Justus was six years old, his father abandoned the family, making a hard life even more difficult for everyone in the family. Gladys does the best she can, managing to find menial daily jobs to earn a little money. But as a single mother with seven children, including one with debilitating medical issues, it can be overwhelming.

She spent countless hours in hospitals, trying to find doctors who would look at Justus—in those rare times she had the money to afford such care. With an unreliable job and a family to care for, she was constantly stressed and worried about their next meal, let alone paying for medical bills and the family’s ongoing needs.

In the Kibera community where Gladys, Justus and their family live, folks are challenged financially… and in every other way.

Young people find their way toward criminal activities, drugs, and alcohol due to the high poverty levels, according to Purity Wanja, a social worker in Kibera. Sanitation is sorely lacking, with sewage water running freely and garbage strewn about.

At the age of 12, Justus was discovered by community social workers. He was crawling in the mud because he couldn’t walk. The social workers encouraged his mother to admit him to Feed the Children’s Dagoretti Children’s Center (DCC).

Once admitted, Feed the Children staff gave Justus a full examination and began an ongoing regimen of physical and occupational therapy. He was enrolled in the Dagoretti Special School to begin his education – Justus had never attended school before. In class, Justus learned the basics that kids around the world learn. He also received technical training in textiles and sewing.

And because Feed the Children supports keeping children connected to their families and communities wherever possible, Justus visited his family on weekends and during school holidays.

This work is only possible through your gifts–people like you, supporting children like Justus through donations, child sponsorship, or our gift catalog.

While in our care, Justus also began intensive therapy and underwent surgery to improve his mobility. The corrective surgery made his legs more flexible so he is able to walk better. The procedures also eased the pain which came along with his condition and made him more comfortable. In addition, he received a wheelchair, a pair of crutches, and some calipers to help brace himself as he walks.

And for Gladys and other mothers like her, Feed the Children gives professional advice on the care of children with disabilities. The social workers are in constant contact with the children and their guardians.

After completion of his technical course that was sponsored by Feed the Children, and once he’d met various milestones set by the rehabilitation team, Justus was reunited with his family in November 2010. But our work doesn’t end there—Wanja stays in contact with Justus and his family. Today, Justus is easy going and social, with a bright smile. He is friendly and polite, wonderful with children, and has a small babysitting business for friends and neighbors.

*7-2015 KE0009 - Justus (13)Now, at 23 years old, Justus just received another live-changing gift, thanks to Feed the Children and our supporters—a sewing machine. With this gift, he can take the textile training and expertise he gained at Dagoretti and use it to increase his livelihood—one of the four pillars of Feed the Children’s work around the world.

“I used to wish for one every day, but could not afford it,” Justus says. And his mother, Gladys, couldn’t be happier. “Everything starts from one step,” she says, “and this [sewing] machine is a step forward for Justus.” 

“The machine will be useful since now I can go ahead and work without waiting for help,” Justus says. “I have skills I can use.” 

And Justus’s new independence and self-sufficiency means Gladys now has more time to pursue her business interests. As we walked out of the house, she couldn’t contain her happiness for Justus in his business pursuits. She also seemed energized in her own quest for more income, despite the harsh conditions of their neighborhood.

Gladys concluded by saying, “I don’t know how I can repay what Feed the Children has done for us.”

We can’t do what we do without your support. Help a child like Justus today through a gift from our gift catalog. For just $75, you can provide care for a child with disabilities so they can move toward self-sufficiency and a bright future. Give today.

 

Do It for Ally

The need is urgent—and the time is now.

You have just three days left to make a donation to Feed the Children so it can count as a tax deduction for 2015. More importantly, your gift today will go five times further, thanks to the generosity of our corporate partners. Each dollar you give provides $5 worth of food and essentials for hungry, hurting children and families.

For more than 35 years, Feed the Children has worked to create a world where no child goes to bed hungry. We can’t do it without you. But together, we can work miracles. During the last fiscal year, Feed the Children distributed some $78 million in food, other necessities, educational supplies, and medicine to children worldwide. And folks like you sponsored 11,500 children.

Together, we are helping kids be kids. But our work isn’t done. We’re currently experiencing a shortfall for 2015, so we need you more than ever.

*7-2015 TZ0002 - Ally 1Ally is just one of the children we serve. A student at one of our partner schools in Tanzania, he knows firsthand the impact of Feed the Children’s work. Just five years ago, his fellow pupils were suffering from a rash of stomachaches. Kids were missing school—of the 418 children enrolled, some 20 students were missing lessons in any given week. Other kids were kept home because their parents worried about them catching the illness. Latrines were dirty and substandard. And the school had an inadequate water supply—children were being asked to bring water from home for their personal needs.

Today, it’s a whole new situation. 

  • Feed the Children has installed rainwater harvesting systems by setting water tanks at school. This has helped children to easily have water in school.
  • Feed the Children has kept water buckets closer to latrines for hand washing after kids have visited the toilet and has helped educate the community of the importance of hand-washing.
  • Feed the Children established a school feeding project, in which kids in the school are receiving mid-morning breakfast.
  • In partnership with TOMS shoes, Feed the Children has been distributing shoes in the school.

“We thank Feed the Children for assuring our school becomes a safe environment for children,” said one of the school’s head teachers. “We thank Feed the Children for their tireless efforts, and for continuing to be part of us.”

Ally is grateful for the turnaround too. “Without Feed the Children, water tanks would not be here, and even the hand-wash project wouldn’t have happened. You have saved the lives of many children, and rescued the academic performance of our village.”

We’re thankful too—thankful for people like you who have partnered with us for these 35 years. Now is the time to step up again. Make your gift by the end of the year. You’ll get a break on your 2015 taxes, but more critically, you’ll be helping children just like Ally have a healthy, happy and hunger-free 2016. Give now.

Merry Christmas from Around the World!

“This is your day, and we are here to celebrate with you.”

That was Rhoda Njue, Child Sponsorship Coordinator for the Feed the Children office in Kenya, speaking to children as she welcomed them to Christmas celebrations. Christmas came early for thousands of kids around the world, thanks to our dedicated staff and donors and supporters like you who made joyful celebrations and parties happen in the communities we serve.

Our mission is to provide hope and resources for those without life’s essentials. Essentials include necessities like food, clean drinking water, quality education, and a possibility for a good livelihood.

But joy is also essential.
Dignity is essential.
And for children, play is essential.

That’s why events like Christmas celebrations are so important. The children we serve are our heroes. They strive and struggle in ways that are hard for many of us to imagine. Holiday celebrations are a chance to let kids be kids, to set aside the chores, responsibilities and worries of everyday life.

You are an indispensable part of our work. When you make a gift to Feed the Children, you help ensure that we’ll be able to serve even more kids next year, giving them access to nutritious meals, sanitation, and opportunities for joy as well.

Here are just a few highlights of Christmas celebrations in our communities, with reflections written by staff in these regions.

 

HONDURAS

IMG_6551

Many of us spend our Christmas by giving gifts to friends, families and loved ones. Christmas is a time to spread joy and smiles, and Feed the Children does this in our sponsored communities. The celebrations started early this year, because some areas are so remote and hard to access when it rains–the rivers overflow, making it impossible to access some communities.

In the Nueva Esperanza community, some 99 children enjoyed a festive meal of fried chicken, rice, apples and salad.

And at the Community of La Cumbre Palmichal, more than 300 children were given a t-shirt, an apple, a bag of candy, and a healthy meal.

The glow on the childrens’ faces was memorable, as many of them don’t celebrate Christmas this time of year. This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our wonderful sponsors and donors. Thank you.

-Mayra Humphrey

 

KENYA

-Kajiado Childrens Party -4-

Christmas came early for over 7,000 school children from 61 schools in Kajiado, Samburu, Turkana and Nairobi Counties. The celebrations were held on different days in November and early December before the close of the academic year, to celebrate kids under the Child Sponsorship program.

Elation was in the air as children performed, played games, and enjoyed specially prepared meals. Participating schools also received presents from Feed the Children, to great excitement from the kids.

And at the Dagoretti Children’s Center and Abandoned Baby Center, holidays are celebrated all month long with a whole calendar of activities, including a bounce castle, face painting, special story time, and BBQ and hot dogs on New Year’s Eve.

-Edna Onchiri

 

GUATEMALA

l6XN8Bn3yZEBKEHG7D7bPAyQsY2foRJhE_swyUk5azc,tQpvB8-QpTvaO6MhKhF5eBJZ8XiyJzey4sc25H5jHLs 

Throughout the month of December, the Guatemalan team has been celebrating Christmas with the children in all thirteen of our communities. For some, we received donations of Domino’s Pizza to share with the children. They were so excited—many of the children rarely get to eat pizza!

In other communities, the mothers pitched in some money and with help from Feed the Children, made tamales, which are traditional to eat during Christmas. In a few communities we were accompanied by volunteers who dressed as clowns and helped organize games and do face-painting with the children. All in all we had a lot of fun and hope we helped these children enjoy a special day. More than 1,690 were benefited in our communities.

-Claire Mocha

 

EL SALVADOR

*IMG_3842

When we think about celebrating Christmas, we think about what we can do for those we love: the hours spent shopping for gifts for loved ones; the extravagantly-prepared Christmas dinners we will share with our families. But it isn’t the same for people the world over. During these seasons, it is easy to forget that not everyone can take these comforts for granted the way we do. Some people around the world still live without access to reliable electricity and will spend Christmas in the dark. Too many parents are unable to afford a toy for their children.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

So this year in the community of La Lechera, Christmas came early, with people in El Salvador cooking for our 92 registered children on December 14th. These children were able to have a brighter Christmas with a nutritious meal and toys galore. Our field staff joined in the fun by participating in games such as three-legged race and pop-the-balloon.

Child Sponsorship Coordinator Meylin Quan was grateful for the chance to bring a little Christmas to these children on behalf of all of us: “I’m so happy because we were able to sprinkle some joy into these children’s lives.”

-Mayra Humphrey

~

What will Christmas 2016 be like for these children? The answer is largely up to you. Consider sponsoring a child, or consider a gift from our catalog, or make a one-time gift to help alleviate our shortfall.

And Merry Christmas!

 

What to Give the Loved One Who Has Everything

It’s four days before Christmas—are you ready?

Chances are good you’re still stressing over that handful of people on your gift list. What do you do for the relative who has everything?

Or maybe you’ve been so busy going through your holiday to-do list that you feel disconnected from the “reason for the season.”

We have a solution—our gift catalog.

Feed the Children is helping to create a season of hope for children and families in need at home and around the world with its annual Holiday Gift Catalog. This special edition catalog offers one-of-a-kind gifts that will send a message of hope – and life – to those without life’s essentials. These gifts are a great way to honor special people in your life—people who don’t need another Christmas necktie or pair of socks.

This year’s catalog is filled with Feed the Children’s most popular gifts to help children and families in need just in time for the holidays. These gifts don’t just help improve peoples’ well-being, health and livelihoods. They also bring great joy. They help them know they’re not forgotten. 

No child should have to suffer the pain of hunger and poverty, so the Holiday Gift Catalog features items that will help children and families fill their pantries, restore their lives and begin the holiday season with renewed hope for the future.

You can check out the full catalog here, or let us do the work for you—here are our top seven gifts that can provide life-changing hope, all under $100.

1

1. Provide one chicken for $14.

A chicken means fresh eggs and meat for international families to eat. The eggs and meat can also be sold to neighbors or in markets throughout each country. Purchase here.

~

2

2. Provide one goat for $79.

Goats are a source of meat and milk for families globally, providing much-needed nourishment, and their offspring can be sold to generate income to help a family overcome poverty. Purchase here.

~

3 copy

3. Help feed school children in Kenya with a traditional meal of Githeri (corn and beans) for $22.

Feed the Children serves meals to 137,410 school-aged children in more than 170 schools. Your gift will help children thrive physically and mentally. Purchase here.

~

4

4. Provide water purification tablets for two families for one year for $29.

Even clean water can become contaminated while being carried home or stored for later use. These tablets are one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent diarrhea and other waterborne health issues greatly affecting international countries. Purchase here.

~

5

5. Provide one food box, one essential box, and one holiday turkey for $57.

Families in the U.S. will receive a 25-pound food box, a 10-pound box of basic essentials and a 10- to 12-pound frozen turkey to help them celebrate the holidays. Purchase here.

~

6

6. Equip a child with a backpack and school supplies for $20.

Some children in America don’t have the basic items they need to succeed in school. Each backpack is filled with school supplies, children’s books, hygiene items, and healthy snack food. Purchase here.

~

7

7. Provide one food box and one essentials box for $38.

This gift will help fight childhood hunger in America by providing much-needed food and other essentials like laundry detergent and shampoo for families in need. Each box supplements a family of four for up to a week. Purchase here.

~

“We believe that no child should go to bed hungry in a world where there is plenty of food,” said Travis Arnold, Feed the Children Interim CEO/President and COO. “But the reality is, millions of boys and girls across the globe face this hardship every day. With this catalog, our donors and supporters are able to bring help and hope to families during the holiday season.”

Get that gift list done so you can enjoy the rest of the holiday! Check our catalog today.

A Superabundance of Shoes!

We at Feed the Children are grateful for our ongoing partnership with TOMS and excited to share photos and details from our latest shoe distribution event.

nhLaxGwZt6RLuG_13wzBqSAMByd6IztgHdHmzhGh-KM-yEzLEyvDq0bVdr3BE1Fhx16xnR-Lp-HWi0Lu2-jRxPU

The event took place in Intibucá, Honduras, the mountainous region of the country. Intibucá registers the lowest temperatures in the country, making it ideal for growing all kinds of vegetables. Many women here use hand constructed wooden looms to produce traditional Lenca woven textiles such as ponchos, scarves, and shawls. And many enterprising individuals gather the fallen pine needles from the surrounding forests and weave them into sturdy and decorative baskets, potholders, and vases.

Still, the rates of poverty and child malnutrition in this area remain too high. Over time, Feed the Children has been developing relationships and deepening our capacity in the region. Most of these initiatives have supported our Health pillar. For example, we’ve partnered to provide Vitamin A and deworming treatments for children. We’ve distributed soccer balls (footballs) so that kids have quality equipment with which to play—helping build strong bodies, self-esteem, and positive relationships.

-hxLzgWJBmEtl1TEAme4lVVk0iktPJBqe5tQ1WWOW50-oxDftCt4XlUGvZXh6Xwh3UyBsA66l1cak0RHUSdihgs

TOMS shoe distribution is a key component in this ongoing community-building effort. All told, more than 40,000 pairs of good-quality canvas shoes have been distributed in the cities of Intibucá, Jesus de Otoro, Yamaranguila, San Juan and San Francisco de Opalaca. More than 160,000 pairs have been distributed in Honduras as a whole.

“Each delivery in each city is completely different, but the children in mountainous areas of Intibucá face particular hardship,” said Aaron Alonzo, Regional Donations Project Coordinator for Feed the Children Honduras. “The children’s feet were dirty because they have to cross muddy roads, even small creeks to get to school. Once they put on a new pair of shoes, the faces of the children seemed to glow! They were in pure bliss, jumping up and down with joy because they had a new pair of shoes.”

We’re proud to work with TOMS and are grateful for their generosity in Intibucá and so many places around the globe.

News Roundup

Welcome to News Roundup, a new feature on the Feed the Children blog. Every two weeks we’ll be sharing short updates on our work throughout the organization and among our many corporate and non-profit partners. Enjoy and be inspired!

 

Giving Tuesday

As we enter this season of giving and joy, you have an opportunity to support children around the world and close to home. Tuesday, December 1 is Giving Tuesday—please stand with us to help end child hunger once and for all. Visit www.crowdrise.com/feedthechildren-tower and make your donation, then share this opportunity with your friends on social media and ask them to join you.

It’s fast and easy, and each of our small actions will combine to make a big impact.

 

Young Heroes for Hunger

Young people from Henryetta Nazarene and Henryetta First Baptist Church, presenting a generous gift to Feed the Children's Travis Arnold
Young people from Henryetta Nazarene and Henryetta First Baptist Church, presenting a generous gift to Feed the Children’s Travis Arnold

Check out these heroes from Henryetta Nazarene and Henryetta First Baptist Church! They raised a staggering $12,000 this year to help feed children around the world. Leave a comment on our Facebook page giving a round of applause to these students doing their part to defeat hunger.

 

Halting Disease in Honduras

10-2015 HN0010 Jorley Hernandez (29)

October was the second annual deworming and Vitamin-A supplementation campaign in Honduras. Almost 350 children in communities we serve received the medication, which is given twice a year. Vitamin-A deficiency is a major contributor to mortality in children under 5. Improving the vitamin-A status through supplementation enhances their resistance to disease and can reduce mortality from all causes by 23%.

 

Hope for the Orphan

samuel

Earlier this month was Orphan Sunday in congregations across the United States, and the official launch of Feed the Children’s Foster Hope, a program in which churches provide backpacks to children in foster care in their communities.

When children are removed from their home and placed with a foster family, they often come with nothing but the clothes they’re wearing. Congregations got involved with Foster Hope by giving both financial resources and time. It costs just $20 to sponsor each backpack, which contains a coloring book and crayons, a spiral notebook, shampoo, body wash, toothbrush, toothpaste and a teddy bear. Supplies are shipped directly to churches, so members of your congregation can roll up their sleeves and fill the backpacks, pray for the children who will receive them, and deliver them to a local foster-care agency. For an additional $5, a 50” x 60” fleece blanket is also available to be given to each child. To learn more, check out our recent blog post or check out our video.

 

Soldiers Helping Soldiers

DSC_0024

While most of Fort Bragg was off for Veterans Day, the Soldier Support Center was humming with activity as volunteers doled out 45,000 pounds of food to 800 military families in need. The efforts were part of Feed the Children’s Homefront Harvest Initiative, in partnership with the USO of North Carolina and Food Lion. Similar events also took place at Cherry Point IPAC and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

The families were identified by unit chaplains. Chaplain Maj. Colt Randles of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, said Fort Bragg’s chaplains know all too well the struggles of military families.

He said he was heartened by the generosity on display Wednesday. “This is good for the heart,” Randles said. “It’s kind of a big effort.” Roughly 100 soldiers, mostly from chaplains’ offices, volunteered to help with the effort.

 

Concord Hospitality Battles the Beaches… and Child Hunger

1920 x 1080 TV R2

Concord Hospitality, a Feed the Children partner, is presenting Battle to the Beaches, a virtual race benefiting Feed the Children. It’s a friendly competition in which employees and friends of Concord will run a full marathon over the course of a week… all while raising money to help hungry kids.

The objective of the Battle to the Beaches virtual race is to engage employees in a corporate wellness program that will raise funds to support Feed the Children activities that take place on Concord Share Days, a company-wide volunteer event. Concord employees and guests are invited to walk or run their way around Concord hotels located on the beaches of Florida as they battle it out to see which hotel has the most participation and can raise the most funds.

To learn more about this initiative or to support the effort, visit https://makeyeshappen.com/battletothebeaches.

A World Where No Child Goes to Bed Hungry

Editor’s Note: The following article was originally posted on the IF:Gathering website. We are thankful for the partnership with IF:Gathering, which has been highlighting the work of Feed the Children on their blog for the last several months.

For too many families across our country, hunger is an ever-present reality. There’s not enough money to pay the bills. Food stamps help many people, but they often don’t bridge the gap to the next paycheck. People who never thought they’d have to ask for help find themselves appealing to family, friends, and churches for assistance to get by. And yet each morning, they get up and keep going—going to work, sometimes a double shift; caring for children, maybe with medical needs; finding the resourcefulness to make it through another day. Their persistence is amazing, but it shouldn’t happen in the richest nation in the world.

Consider Cassondra, single mother of two bright and spirited young children. Samuel is your typical rough-and-tumble three year old. And Carmen, the two year old, is Cassondra’s “miracle baby”: hospitalized at birth, on a ventilator for the first two-and-a-half weeks of her life. She’s healthy now—a little delayed in some of her milestones, but full of spirit. “They evolve into beautiful kids every single day,” Cassondra says with obvious pride. “And I love it. I love being a mom.”

6-15 TRIP2941 Jacobs-Lockett FULTON PA (23)

Cassondra has a steady job in a canning factory. She works the night shift, but calls it the “graveyard shift” with a laugh because she’s tired all the time. She was lucky recently to get three days of overtime. That will help with expenses, but still, the money runs out. Food stamp benefits last her about half the month. From time to time, she has to pawn her belongings to make ends meet.

When they go to Walmart, Sam asks for toys he sees in the checkout counter. What child doesn’t? But Cassondra has to tell him “no.” “There’s countless times that I’ve broken down crying because I didn’t have anything for the kids, or for myself. But I would rather them eat and me go without than me eat and them go without.”

No mother should have to make that choice.

Tosha’s story is both similar and different—hunger has common themes, but a million different faces. Tosha is the mother of four children ranging in age from 8 to 14. Like Cassondra, she bursts with love and pride when she talks about them. Like Cassondra, she worries when the money runs out, and pawns her belongings to make the dollars stretch.

“I just try to show my kids I’m strong, I can do it, we’ll figure it out,” Tosha says. “They don’t even know half the time what’s really going on, but it’s very hard. Our cabinets have been empty several times.”

For most of us reading this, an empty cabinet means life got busy and hectic—a quick trip to the grocery store and our shelves are stocked again without another thought. But for too many women like Cassondra and Tosha, empty cabinets are a sign of shame. Holidays can be excruciating. Two Christmases ago, Tosha remembers, the family wasn’t even able to afford a special meal—they ate just like any other day. The kids got a few presents, but they had to wait until January for them, when the family was on better financial footing to afford them. “A month later kind of takes the fun out of Christmas,” she said.

Tosha suffers from kidney issues, so she’s not able to work. Thankfully, her husband got a job—not a great one, but it’s something. And like Cassondra, Tosha is thankful for food stamps, but they rarely last the month.

These stories hurt our hearts. And we believe they hurt God’s heart as well.

That’s why we’re proud we’ve partnered with Feed the Children this year — an organization fighting every day to create a world where no child goes to bed hungry. Visit Feed the Children’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages and give them a like or a follow, so you can learn more about their work.

Country Spotlight: Introducing Tanzania

This month our Country Spotlight moves to Tanzania! In addition to our regular blog content, we’ll be sharing more about this country to give you a deeper picture of what’s going on there.

Tanzania Country Director Silvia Andena is welcomed to a site visit of a local school.
Tanzania Country Director Silvia Andena (right) is welcomed to a site visit of a local school.

Tanzania is home of Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti Desert. Although it’s rich in natural resources, it’s also home to a 28.2% poverty rate and a 42% rate of malnutrition for children under 5. Thankfully, it’s also home to numerous Feed the Children programs, managed by capable staff and dedicated community members.

Right now in this beautiful East African country:

  • We provide mid-morning breakfast to 37,000 of the most at-risk children each school day.
  • We’ve built or repaired rainwater harvesting systems in more than two dozen communities, providing thousands of kids with clean water that won’t make them sick.
  • We give schoolchildren new shoes twice a year so they can grow and play in sturdy, comfortable footwear.
  • We’ve helped students in 30 primary schools learn to plant and tend two acres of mangoes and cassava plants. The schools planted a total of 30 acres of cassava and 30 acres of mangoes. And we ask every school to raise a reasonable income from each harvest to keep their programs going.
  • We also help Tanzanians organize Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) to encourage a culture of saving to invest in children’s futures.
Scott Killough at a recent workshop on child sponsorship, hosted by Feed the Children Tanzania.
Scott Killough at a recent workshop on child sponsorship, hosted by Feed the Children Tanzania.

Feed the Children Tanzania is also an important partner in the region at large. Just last week, the Tanzania office in Dar es Salaam hosted Feed the Children personnel from Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda for a training on child sponsorship. Scott Killough, our Senior Vice President of International Operations, and Matt Panos, Chief Development Officer, joined the gathering from the head office in Oklahoma City. Seintje Veldhuis, Regional Director for Africa was present on the last day.

The four-day workshop covered the past, present and future of child sponsorship. Participants reflected on the successes and challenges of the past year, reviewed the child sponsorship manual, and considered processes and procedures to make the program even stronger. On day three, they also visited one of the schools under child sponsorship – Kiluvya B. Primary School.

We’ll be sharing more about Tanzania’s remarkable work over the next few weeks. Watch this space for more updates, or you can read our recent interview with Tanzania Country Director Silvia Andena. Learn more about Tanzania here—including how you can be a part of what we’re doing.