News Roundup, May 9, 2016

Starkist Steps Up with Generous Gift to Feed the Children

6-2015 - CDR3008 - Del City Church of Christ Summer Feeding - Photog GThiets (20)StarKist® is joining forces with Feed the Children with a generous donation of $100,000. This gift will go a long way toward supporting our mission of making sure no child goes to bed hungry. In addition, StarKist is teaming up with Feed the Children during four community events over the next few months in Pittsburgh, Boston, New York City and Los Angeles.

“StarKist is a socially responsible company that provides healthy food for more people. One in five children goes to bed hungry in the U.S., and at StarKist we are committed to doing our part by getting our nutritious seafood products into the hands of children in need,” said Andrew Choe, StarKist President and CEO. “It’s an honor to work with the Feed the Children team. And we applaud this outstanding organization for its endless fight against hunger and its commitment to breaking the poverty cycle.”

Four community events are planned, and will kick-off in StarKist’s hometown of Pittsburgh, Pa. on Wednesday of this week. StarKist and Feed the Children are collaborating with FOCUS+ Pittsburgh charity to hold a community-fair style event where a truckload of food, essentials, StarKist product and more will be distributed to pre-registered attendees.

In addition to Pittsburgh, Feed the Children and StarKist will co-sponsor events in New York City (June 23), Boston (July 7), and Los Angeles (July 14) over the next couple of months, assisting local families in the area.

“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 StarKist in the fight to end child hunger in America. Together, we can be our neighbor’s helper and truly help families in our nation’s own backyard.”

Kenya Care Groups Get Trained to Make a Difference

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Volunteer mothers who will work with Feed the Children under the Care Group Project in the slums of Kibera were recently trained on the objectives and focus of the project.

The Care Group Model is a program designed to empower a small number of staff to work with a larger number of volunteers, to help increase our reach and influence in vulnerable communities. These volunteers will provide key health and nutrition information to an even larger population of pregnant and breastfeeding women in their communities.

The project has seven promoters employed by Feed the Children. Each promoter is responsible for four care groups comprised of 10-15 lead mothers (volunteer mothers). These lead mothers will be meeting once per month in their care groups to learn key messages about health and nutrition.

During the recent training, the volunteers were taken through guidelines on how to carry out care group meetings with the mothers with whom they will interact. Participants were equipped with knowledge about the project’s core mandate and ways to go about having the meetings.

-Edna Onchiri

Truckloads of Help and Hope in Ohio

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In the United States, the roots of hunger go deep. In Columbus Ohio, for example, 22 percent of households live below the poverty level and far too many children go to bed hungry. This is why The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation and Teleperformance partnered with Feed the Children for its annual Get Ready Fest™ —an event that provided 1,200 pre-identified Columbus-area families with wellness resources, food and essentials. The event took place late last month and is one of many that Feed the Children plans across the country each year to help feed bodies, minds and futures. It is made possible because of The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, the generous donation of forklifts from Harr’s Forklift Service of Columbus, and additional product transportation by Americold.

Volunteers from The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, including Malcolm Jenkins (Pro Bowler for the Philadelphia Eagles and ‘09 The Ohio State University graduate), Teleperformance, Lutheran Social Services, Columbus Urban League, Omega Psi Phi and Niagara Water were onsite to serve and assist the effort. Each family received a 25-pound box of food; a 10-pound box of much-needed essentials like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and personal-care items; and a box with assorted Avon products. Get Ready Fest™ also included several community organizations providing complimentary services and products, such as children’s books and youth haircuts.

“Feed the Children strives to provide help 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 The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation and Teleperformance in the fight to end hunger in America.”

More community partners assisting with the event included Second Baptist Church, The Ohio State University Athletics, Omega Psi Phi, Concord Hotels, Columbus Food Bank, Campbells, Hirzel, L’Oreal, Columbus State Community College, The Ohio Academy-Paul Mitchell, Buckeye Health, 2nd and Seven Foundation, CHLOE. Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters, Veteran’s Administration, Infant Mortality Task Force, LSS Ohio Benefit Bank, Niagara Water, Cliff Bar, Disney Books, Starkist Tuna and DJ by Giovanni.

Spring Fling in Oklahoma City

20160430_120705_resizedFighting hunger is serious business, but sometimes kids just need to be kids. We recently participated in a “Spring Fling” event at Crystal Lake in Oklahoma City. We had more than 800 children in attendance, with countless volunteers paired with those young kids. The event grew out of our after-school program efforts, which serve 850 children each week over 30 sites.

With a theme of “Superheroes,” we provided children with four new Disney books (Marvel, Sophia, Doc McStuffins, etc.), plus Captain America nightlights. We’re thankful to partner Whiz Kids for helping make the event happen, and to our President, CEO and resident superhero, J.C. Watts, was attending the event as well.

News Roundup, April 25, 2016

Feed the Children and Partners Feed Massachusetts Families

Price Rite joined Feed the Children, The Salvation Army and Pepsi to lend a hand to families in Revere, Massachusetts last week. About 800 families received food and essentials filling two Feed the Children semitrucks at a local Price Rite.

All participating families were pre-identified based on need. Each received a 25-pound box of food; a 10-pound box of much-needed essentials like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, personal-care items; and an Avon box with assorted Avon products. Families also received an additional food donation from Price Rite. Volunteers from the organizations were on site to help distribute the items to families. Community partners were also on site providing resources and information for services available to the families.

The event was one of many that Feed the Children has planned across the country to help feed bodies, minds and futures. In Revere alone, nearly 15 percent of families live below the poverty line and are unsure how they will provide their next meal.

“Feed the Children strives to provide help 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 Price Rite, The Salvation Army and Pepsi in the fight to end hunger in America.”

To support our efforts to feed hungry people in the US and abroad, click here.

Teacher Stores Partner for Excellence in Education

13002387_10154073544023798_6371972918787047875_oFeed the Children Volunteer Engagement Supervisor, Indiana DC Darlene Anderson sends along letters from staff of Elkhart Community Schools. Feed the Children serves these schools and others around the country by providing books, school supplies and other needed items through our Teacher Stores.

First we hear from April Walker, principal of Monger Elementary School:

I was just paid a visit by Rob Haworth, Superintendent of ECS.  He wanted to personally congratulate our school for being 1 of 4 schools in the district to IMPROVE results on the IREAD3 exam. His words were, “Monger knocked it out of the park.”

The 3rd grade team passed 81% of 3rd graders on the first round of IREAD (compared to last year’s 62%)… Even more exciting, our team passed 90% of our ESL students on THE FIRST ROUND (compared to last year’s 47%).  Way to go!  You should be proud.

And Nyta Tilford, who also works at Monger, adds her thanks to Feed the Children:

Thank you for the items you were able to give us to pump up all the grade 3 students a bit; they enjoyed and appreciated it. Obviously with support and love, the kids came through with flying colors. Thank you for your part in making this happen. We are all pleased with the results. Thanks again Feed the Children for always helping us to help kids.

Through our Teacher Stores, schools have the supplies they need to succeed. We’re thankful to be have such an important hand in educating the nation’s children.

To learn more about Teacher Store locations, click here.

Hope for the Homeless in Alabama

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With help from Feed the Children, Mobile County Public Schools will be able to give food, school supplies and hygiene products to thousands of homeless students.

The national organization sent an 18-wheeler to Mobile today with 1,600 backpacks full of school supplies, toothpaste, toothbrushes and other items; 6 pallets of books; and 112 cases of snack items, including granola bars, apple sauce and more.

“Many of our students don’t know where they are going to lay their head at night. They may be living in a shelter or a car or going from house to house,” said Denise Riemer, a social worker for Mobile County Public Schools who works with homeless students. Students are fed breakfast and lunch at school during the week. Riemer said these snacks will help keep them from going hungry over the weekend.

“We want them to come back to school each Monday prepared,” she said. Riemer and social workers Ciji Bendolph and Larissa Dickinson will unload the boxes and get the supplies to 3,800 Mobile County students who are classified this year as being homeless.

The Feed the Children donation was so generous this year that Riemer invited social workers from Baldwin County, Saraland, Satsuma and Chickasaw to come to the MCPSS Warehouse and take items back to their schools.

To learn more about our domestic work, click here.

Protecting the Earth, Feeding the World

13064740_10154078421753798_1259407445893506263_oLast week was Earth Day, and we’re proud to partner with a company that strives to be a good neighbor by reducing its carbon footprint. Twenty-five years ago, Beech-Nut joined us in the fight to end childhood hunger. They have been on a mission to provide honest, real, great-tasting food for babies. To date, Beech Nut has donated more than $17 million and more than 13 million pounds of baby foods to children we serve across the U.S. In addition to their incredible products, they’ve been able to reduce their carbon footprint drastically and become the only LEED-certified baby food production facility in the world. Hats off to our friends and partners at Beech Nut for their exceptional work and generosity. To learn more about our corporate partnerships, click here.

 

Making a Difference, Step by Step

At Feed the Children, we’re passionate about the community development work we do around the world. It’s gratifying to partner with leaders within a community, identifying the areas of greatest need and working together to implement solutions.

It’s also tremendously challenging. Helping lift a community out of poverty takes years, and it takes a variety of approaches. It’s a series of small steps.

Take Abdallah, a fourteen year old living in a remote area of Tanzania. We’ve made great progress there since getting involved in 2013—but there’s lots more to do. And with your help, we’re committed to partnering with his village for the long haul.

Abdallah lives with his mother, three siblings, and two cousins in the coastal region of Tanzania. The air is humid, but the sun is scorching hot. The road leading to his home is dusty and lined with long grass as well as coconut and mango trees.

Abdallah’s family lives in a small house, with a roof made of dried coconut tree leaves and walls of locally-made red bricks. There’s no electricity or running water, which is typical for the town. The family has access to a pit latrine not far from the house.

The community depends on subsistence farming for their food, buying household items like sugar and tea in the local shops. Most people in the community are not employed—they do casual jobs like home construction.

Sofia, Abdallah’s mother, was only able to attend school through the second grade. She is now a peasant farmer who grows cassava, vegetable, and peas for the family’s use, and makes money by tilling other people’s farms. She earns about $2.30 US each day.

Sofia is proud that she’s been able to feed the family at least one meal a day, but feels sad that it’s often not more than that. The family meal is typically at night and consists of Ugali (a solid mixture of corn flour & water) with vegetables or beans. Occasionally the harvest is good enough that the family enjoys three meals—but that’s a rare luxury.

Feed the Children’s first entry point to the community was in 2013. We began providing mid-morning porridge to every child in school. The porridge is formulated to be filling and full of vitamins to ensure that kids receive essential nutrients. For children like Abdallah, this may be the first meal they eat that day.

We’ve also helped outfit the kids in the village with shoes provided by TOMS, with school supplies and textbooks, and with a rainwater harvesting system. Before construction of the system, kids like Abdallah would carry a 5-liter container of water to school every day for their use.

According to the head of the school, the transformation has been remarkable. The children now have increased motivation to attend school regularly, and they are concentrating in class, completing school, and moving on to high school.

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Abdallah is growing well and it looks like he will be a very tall boy, according to his mother. He likes to study and his favorite subject is science. He also adores football and dreams of becoming a professional football player. “The porridge Abdala gets in school is important,” his mother says, “because I think when he is in class, he can listen to what the teacher is saying. He is also happy and active and plays his football without worrying about hunger.”

Abdallah’s on his way to a better life. But the work isn’t done.

For example, the textbooks we’ve provided are a good start, but there aren’t enough for the kids to take home and study on their own. The rainwater system helps, but the tank only holds 15,000 liters—good for about two months unless the rains are abundant.

Teachers have begun dreaming about a safe, fenced area for the kids to play, and have asked Feed the Children for help with balls, goals and other sports equipment.

We are committed to Abdallah’s community, and want to make those dreams a reality. With your support, we can do just that. Learn more about our work in Tanzania, and make a gift to support children like Abdallah.

 

News Roundup, April 11, 2016

Supporting Teachers in Oklahoma

We recently received this letter from a teacher who shops at her local Teacher Store. Read on!

I am a kindergarten teacher at Konawa Elementary School. We have been fortunate enough to be able to make several trips to your Feed the Children Teacher Store. It has been wonderful!

With budgets the way they are, we don’t get anything new in the classroom. I now have a rack to put our paper on to dry if we paint or glue. I have wanted one for years. I have been able to get many supplies that we use everyday: markers, paper, construction paper, crayons, bulletin board paper, center items, paint, etc. It makes such a difference!

I have also been able to bring many books to my students. That is fantastic! So many of my students have very few books. Some of them don’t have any books at home. They don’t have to say that now! I sent books home at Christmas, before spring break, and for Easter! My students and their parents are just as excited as I am.

We are all very appreciative! They are excited to read. Now they can have bedtime stories and that wonderful, close feeing that my children always had when we snuggled together and read books.

I did not even know that there was such a thing as the Teacher Store until the end of last year. It is like Christmas every time I go. None of this would be possible without the businesses that donate and the volunteers that set everything up. I feel like someone cares about teachers and children at public schools.

To learn more about Teacher Store locations, click here.

Hunger in America: Ashley and Samantha’s Story

Jacob loves his daughters — 6-year-old twins Ashley and Samantha (names have been changed to protect the privacy of those we serve). That’s why it hurts so much when he doesn’t have enough food for them. Just thinking about his two precious girls going hungry brings tears to his eyes.

And when I ask the twins about going hungry, their silliness turns serious and their easy smiles fade.

“When I run out of food, my tummy gets so achy,” Ashley says.

“It feels pretty bad,” Samantha adds. “We don’t have no food to eat.”

Read more about this remarkable family here.

When the Waters Rise, Feed the Children is There

e8534478-c9c5-43cd-acf8-15f2e3d21378Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas have all had substantial flooding in the past several weeks. Thousands of homes were evacuated and countless more were left without power. In response, Feed the Children allocated 5 shipments, about 149,000 pounds, of supplies to be sent to Orange, TX to help our neighbors with immediate relief efforts.

When disasters strike, speed is vital. Feed the Children stays ready to respond quickly to hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, even war and conflict — anything that leaves children and their families in a wake of devastation.

We’ve been helping people after disasters since 1979, delivering hundreds of truckloads of food and essentials to Americans facing disasters both natural and manmade. We helped children and families who were in the paths of Hurricanes Andrew in Florida, Katrina on the Gulf Coast (especially New Orleans) and Sandy in the northeast.

Fighting Hunger in Charlotte

Greater Salem Church in Charlotte, NC joined Feed the Children to lend a hand to Charlotte-area families last month. A semitruck full of food and essentials was distributed to a total of 400 families at Hidden Valley Elementary.

Because hunger can’t be tackled alone, Greater Salem Church pre-identified families in need, who 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 event is one of many that Feed the Children has planned across the country. In Charlotte alone, 17 percent of families are living below the poverty line. Often, these children 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 Greater Salem Church and Hidden Valley Elementary in the fight to end hunger in America.”

Greater Salem Church, affectionately known as “The Connecting Place,” is 142 years old. The church is the second oldest African American congregation in Mecklenburg County, NC. The ministry’s core values include caring, comforting, constructing and communication. Bishop Alan G. Porter is the Sr. Pastor of the historical Greater Salem Church and Elder Wayne Manning Bass, II serves as Kingdom Advancement Director.

A Note of Thanks from Arizona

Frank Migali, State Director for Homeless Education, Arizona Department of Education, recently sent this note:

As you are aware, we hosted our delivery in southern Arizona last week; we had a great turnout!

I wanted to thank Feed the Children again for your ongoing support of homeless students in the state of Arizona. The donation we receive each year is incredible and goes a long way to support our children and youth experiencing homelessness.

Additionally, this is the first year we have received significant media coverage of the delivery and distribution. I wanted to share with you two media reports from last week:

Kristi’s Kids: Feed the Children supply over 2,000 backpacks to Tucson-area students

Free backpacks given to children in need

 

 

 

 

 

 

Child Hunger in America: Ashley & Samantha’s story

Jacob loves his daughters — 6-year-old twins Ashley and Samantha (names have been changed to protect the privacy of those we serve). That’s why it hurts so much when he doesn’t have enough food for them. Just thinking about his two precious girls going hungry, brings tears to his eyes.

And when I ask the twins about going hungry, their silliness turns serious and their easy smiles fade.

“When I run out of food, my tummy gets so achy,” Ashley says.

“It feels pretty bad,” Samantha adds. “We don’t have no food to eat.”

Jacob and his wife, Debbie, try hard to provide for their family. But it’s a constant struggle. They are growing girls and Jacob says, “They eat a lot.”

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It’s especially difficult during the summer months. Millions of kids across America depend on free or reduced price meals, but when school ends, so do those critical meals.

“In the summertime, when they don’t have that free breakfast and lunch, it’s a little expensive ‘cause you have to buy breakfast and lunch food,” Jacob explains.

“We don’t have no food to eat.”

— Samantha, age 6

For Jacob, his twins mean twice the blessing. But right now, when times are tight, twins also mean twice the hunger.

You can help families through tough times

You can help a dad like Jacob feed his children. Your gift today will provide a box of food and a box of essentials to help children like Ashley and Samantha. It’s just $38 for both boxes! Please give today, if you can. You’ll offer critical help and hope to a struggling family in their time of need. And you’ll fill the hungry tummies of kids like Ashley and Samantha so they can keep coloring, and experience all of the other joys of childhood.

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Donate

If Ashley and Samantha’s story stirred something in you, please share it with others. Introduce them to the twins and how they can help hungry children across America.

Helping Kids Thrive: A Story from Guatemala

Many of us are accustomed to taking out loans for big expenses:
A home.
A car.
College tuition.

But imagine having to take out a loan for your child’s school supplies.

That’s the economic reality for many people around the world.

Juana is a four year old in Guatemala. She’s too young for school, but her three older siblings all attend.

What’s even more significant is that the parents are going into debt in order to educate their two daughters, in a culture in which many families don’t allow their girls to go to school. It’s seen as an unnecessary expense in a culture in which girls are raised to get married and keep the home. Juana’s parents want their girls to have opportunity and self-sufficiency.

Juana’s village is a picture of contrasts. It’s a beautiful site near a lake in the middle of a dormant volcano. The ancient Maya settlements make it a popular tourist destination. Luxury hotels and fancy amenities clash with local living conditions; the indigenous communities around the lake struggle to maintain their quality of life in a region with few public services and poor infrastructure.

The economy in the village is centered around coffee and fishing, with the women creating beaded jewelry for the tourism industry. It’s a meager and unstable economic situation for the residents there. Juana’s father is 30 and never attended school. He works as a day laborer; depending on the month, he works picking coffee, avocados, or local fruit on land owned by wealthier families. During months when work is scarce, he supplements his income doing handicrafts or odd jobs for his neighbors. Juana’s mother has a first-grade education but had to drop out to help her family around the house.

Juana’s parents do their best to put food on the table for their growing children, but meals are usually lacking in variety and nutrients. The most common meal is black beans, tortillas and wild greens that they find growing in the coffee plantation. “My children are used to this life,” Juana’s mother says, “but I feel bad when they want to eat a second helping of food and I have no more to give them.”

Because the family has so little extra income, the children are used to wearing the same clothes throughout the week. The children use cheap plastic sandals bought at the market, which break quickly. Juana is underweight and gets sick often with diarrhea, stomachaches and vomiting. Still, Juana is a calm and easy-going child, and she likes to play with stuffed animals and dolls. She can entertain herself in the shade of the coffee trees near her house.

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Juana deserves a chance to thrive. It’s what her parents want for her, and what we want for her as well.

Feed the Children has been supporting children through child sponsorship in the village since October of 2012. These children receive a backpack with school supplies every year, which many families would not be able to afford otherwise. These are the supplies that used to put the family into debt each year—it used to take months to pay off the loan. Now the kids have what they need, and the parents can set aside money for other necessities.

Feed the Children also supports a feeding program in the community, in which every registered child comes to eat lunch at mid-day. Not only is the food more filling and nutritious than what Juana would eat at home, it allows families to save a little money and use more of their income to provide healthier meals at breakfast and dinner. “My children are always excited to go to the feeding program for lunch,” Juana’s mother says. “The food is more complete there and healthier. They are happy to be part of this program.”

Sponsored children also receive two pairs of TOMS shoes every year, which represents a large savings for the parents as they don’t have to replace their children’s shoes as often, and means that the children’s feet are protected every day.

Finally, Feed the Children in partnership with Vitamin Angels has begun to support the community with deworming pills, Vitamin A supplementation and multivitamins every six months. Children like Juana often drink contaminated water and lack good hygiene practices like hand washing with soap. As a result they can suffer endemic parasitic infections, which don’t allow their bodies to absorb important nutrients. The medication provided by Vitamin Angels helps break this cycle and helps reduce malnutrition and stunting.

Juana’s community still needs a lot of support. Family or community gardens could be a source of extra income as well as provide needed nutrients to the limited diet; and targeted village loan programs could help families start other production projects to grow their income as well. The community urgently needs water and sanitation infrastructure improvements to reduce the incidence of water-borne diarrheal illness; and hygiene education to support healthy habits.

However, the support that Feed the Children has provided so far has been a strong start and has shown the families here what they can achieve if they work together. The work continues.

Thank you to everyone who makes our work possible. To learn more about our work in Guatemala, click here.

Hunger in America: Brittany’s Story

“I think people don’t realize that a lot of middle-class people can be struggling.”

It’s the shameful truth—too many families in the United States work hard but are falling behind. They’re technically above the poverty line, but still living paycheck to paycheck. An unexpected health emergency or major car repair pushes them from barely making it into true crisis.

Nobody should live this way, least of all children.

Take Tanya*, a mother of two who works hard and wants the best for her kids. She wants them to have the chance to have a happy childhood and grow up and follow their dreams.

But sometimes the difficulty of everyday life gets in the way — even for families where both parents have jobs and are working hard to provide for their children. Tanya’s husband is a truck driver, and his job takes him away for days at a time. He’ll often come home from work in the middle of the night, take a shower, and be gone the next day. Sometimes it’s easier just to sleep in the truck than disturb the family in the middle of the night.

11-year-old Brittany
11-year-old Brittany

Tanya’s daughter Brittany is a creative 11 year old with lots of potential. She loves to sing and composes her own songs. When she’s not making music, she’s probably practicing her gymnastics moves. Brittany’s brother Christopher is six years old but seems much older than his years.

Despite having two incomes, the family struggles. Tanya’s husband’s job isn’t consistent. Sometimes they have to decide which bills to pay and which ones to let slide until the next paycheck, or which expenses to put on the credit card. Some months, simple grocery items like chicken or ground beef are simply out of reach.

Each summer, the kids receive a list of school supplies for the upcoming year. Those times are especially hard for the family. In addition to the standard crayons and glue, school supply lists these days include large boxes of disinfectant wipes and jumbo bottles of hand sanitizer. And the kids are supposed to bring three packs of crayons, not one, because the class pools their supplies. These supplies can be a hardship for families struggling to meet even basic needs. But Tanya wants her kids and their classmates to have what they need to get a good education.

“I think people don’t realize that a lot of middle-class people can be struggling,” Tanya says. “And maybe they are too embarrassed to go even seek help, and they’ll just struggle . . . and just suffer.”

Tanya knows what it’s like to struggle and suffer. Thankfully, she also knows that her local food pantry, one of Feed the Children’s partner agencies, can help in her family’s time of need.

“A little bit of extra help from the pantry makes a big difference,” she explains.

6-year-old Christopher
6-year-old Christopher

The support Brittany’s family receives from the food pantry has a ripple effect. Getting a little help with food frees up some of the family income to buy other necessities, such as school supplies and clothes. Tanya always wants her kids to have what they need to succeed in school.

Your support changes the lives of children like Brittany and Christopher. Thank you for giving to provide food, essentials and hope to struggling families here at home.

*Names have been changed to protect the family’s privacy. 

Happy World Water Day!

Happy World Water Day!

To celebrate this important day, we want to introduce you to Lashiwe. She lives in Malawi in a small community we serve. The majority of the population live in mud- and grass-thatched houses, with a few in brick and grass-thatched houses. There’s no electricity, so residents depend on batteries and solar sources of power.

Before Feed the Children began working in the community, proper hygiene and sanitation practices weren’t part of day-to-day life: washing hands after toilet use, throwing garbage in a designated pit, covering the toilet after use to prevent flies, and covering drinking water to prevent contamination. The people simply didn’t know to do these things.

Yet their kids would get sick regularly, and parents didn’t know why. Lashiwe’s mother, Maria, would wonder why her children seemed to suffer from such chronic intestinal distress.

The UN World Water Day was instituted for children just like Lashiwe—to raise awareness of the importance of fresh water and to encourage people to work for clean water around the world. The World Health Organization estimates that 783 million people live without access to safe drinking water, and some 2.5 billion people—almost a third of the world’s population— lack sanitation facilities.

We work hard each day for children like Lashiwe. One of the four pillars of our international work is Health & Water. Clean water and proper sanitation are vital to thriving communities.

It doesn’t matter how healthy a child’s diet is, if all they drink is dirty water.

In fiscal year 2014, Feed the Children’s water projects benefited more than 63,400 children and families, providing them with clean-water systems such as wells, water lines, and rainwater-catchment systems. We built school toilets that benefited more than 4,600 pupils; and provided direct clinical care to more than 19,300 individuals through its dedicated staff and volunteers.

Through care group sessions organized through Feed the Children, Lashiwe’s mother Maria received vital training in hygiene and sanitation. She learned to make hand washing facilities for her house and how to clean her home most effectively to reduce disease. She learned the importance of having a garbage pit for her house, and how to cover the toilet with a drop hole cover.

Today, Lashiwe and her friends are healthier and happier, with disease outbreaks greatly reduced. “We are grateful to Feed the Children for introducing water, hygiene and sanitation interventions in our community,” Maria says. “My family will never be the same again.”

And what does Lashiwe say? “I like washing my hands using this system!” And what child doesn’t love to splash around in good clean water?

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How will you celebrate World Water Day? One simple way is to be aware of how much water we use in the United States, and how different that is from many places around the world. The average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water per day. On average, approximately 70 percent of that water is used indoors, with the bathroom being the largest consumer (a toilet alone can use 27 percent!).

Water’s one of those things that’s easy to take for granted. Most of us turn on the faucet without a second thought, and our daily shower is just another chore, not a moment for gratitude. But even something as simple as washing our hands can be a moment to pause and be aware of the abundance so many of us enjoy.

Feed the Children makes it easy to put your awareness into action to help children just like Lashiwe. Read more about our Heath & Water projects, and shop our gift catalog for gifts that will bring the gift of life-giving water to children, families, and communities around the globe.

Sponsorship Makes a Difference: A Story from the Philippines

People may wonder whether it’s discouraging to see the amount of hunger and poverty we often see in our work. With chronic malnutrition touching 1 in 4 children around the world, isn’t it easy to lose hope?
Definitely not. In fact, the people we serve are our heroes.
Consider Jennilyn and her family. Jennilyn lives in a cramped concrete house in an urban slum in the Philippines with her five siblings, her mother and father. To get to their house, visitors must travel down a network of dark, crowded  alleys where people sit, sleep, cook, wash clothes, feed their animals, and do domestic chores right in the open.
Jennilyn’s father is the main source of income—he drives a trisikad (bicycle with sidecar) and does odd jobs for their daily sustenance. He tries to make at least 300 pesos a day so there’s food on the table, and so the five school-aged children can attend school. Jennilyn’s parents know education is absolutely essential so their kids can have a better standard of living. “I try my best to provide for my family,” he says. “I want all my children to finish school. So, I do all kinds of work, including cleaning the canals just to earn money for them.”
The whole family finds ways to make life work. In fact, their resourcefulness is amazing. With five daughters—the son is 19 and married, though still living at home—there’s a lot of swapping of clothes and sharing of school supplies. The house is chaotic with so many young ones around, but their parents keep a close eye on them—their neighborhood isn’t the safest. When the children were younger, the parents would rent out the room on the second floor. Now that they’re older, the girls sleep in that room.
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Jennilyn’s mother will sometimes make sweets that Jennilyn sells to classmates for a peso each. If she sells 100 pesos’ worth, she gets to keep 20 pesos for herself. She doesn’t always make the 100-peso mark. But over time, she’s learning the value of money and able to save for herself. She loves computers, and while the family can’t afford one, she uses some of her earnings to rent time on a computer in the neighborhood—5 minutes per peso.
Jennilyn has had a Feed the Children sponsor for about six years. Since that time, she’s been provided with school supplies, school uniforms, shoes, and bags. In the Philippines, we call our sponsored children “scholars,” for that’s what they are—young people who are determined to succeed and make a better life. Thanks to the support of her sponsor, “I feel motivated to go to school,”Jennilyn says.
At a Children’s Month Celebration not long ago, scholars like Jennilyn received special training from employees of the Central Bank in the Philippines, who lectured on “Understanding Money.”We’ve also introduced a community savings program whereby families can pool their resources and learn the value of saving money and investing in their communities.
Jennilyn likes participating in the program, particularly Children’s Month. “Not only did we have fun, we also learned many things. I also like the savings program because it teaches us to make savings so we have something to look forward to. The shoes, school uniform and school supplies also help me a lot.”
For his part, Jennilyn’s father gets a lot out of giving back to his community through Feed the Children, such as repacking relief supplies for distribution following Typhoon Yolanda. “Participating in Feed the Children activities awakens the spirit of volunteerism in me. I like to help in whatever way I can. My wife and I have become community leaders because of the activities that we participate in. Our dream is for all our children to finish school so they will have a better future.”
That’s Jennilyn’s ultimate goal too—she dreams of finishing college and having a career. We have no doubt she can do it—she has a supportive family, a sponsor who’s determined to stand by her, and the motivation and drive to work hard and make it happen.
We’re proud that some 11,500 children are sponsored through Feed the Children. You can join their number today.

News Roundup, March 14, 2016

Feed the Children Expands Partnership Reach

We’ve been working for more than 35 years to make the lives of children and their families better in the United States and around the world. That means we’re always working behind the scenes, looking for ways to increase our partnerships, make our processes better and more efficient, and keep our administrative costs low. Through its network of agencies, Feed the Children distributed more than $344 million in food, essentials, educational supplies, and medicine, impacting close to 9 million individuals in the U.S. and more than 4.9 million individuals internationally.

Recently members of Feed the Children staff attended a “supply chain” conference in Dallas, where we offered a presentation entitled “Solution Based Product Donations: Keeping Unneeded Good Product Out of the Landfill and Out of Your Warehouse.” Mike Ghassali, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships, Corporate Donor Relations, made the presentation for us, and several Feed the Children staff attended the conference, staffed a booth with information about Feed the Children, and networked with potential partners.

Our work with corporate partners helps them serve their communities by giving them the means to donate good-quality unused products to families in need who could use these supplies. This conference helped us connect with even more potential partners and helped position us as a great choice to receive excess inventory. We also met with people who offered us their technical and programming expertise, so we can do our work even more effectively.

Image from left to right:

Chet Jones, Director of Gifts in Kind Partnerships, Corporate Donor Relations, Corporate Donor Relations
Mike Ghassali, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships, Corporate Donor Relations
Chris Splitt, Senior Director of Corporate Donor Relations, Corporate Donor Relations
Hogan Thomas, Senior Director of Logistics/Inventory Management, Logistics/Inventory Management
Wendy Henderson, Director of Gifts in Kind Partnerships, Corporate Donor Relations

Books for Kids

C0ACBE4B-3358-4FBC-82F4-555D4DEA4F44Half Price Books has been giving away free books to a variety of organizations during its 43-year history. In 2015, the company set a goal to give away a million books, a goal they exceeded by more than 50%. Feed the Children was honored to receive a shipment that included the millionth book! We’re grateful for the partnership with Half Price Books. The books we receive are given to children in need through our domestic programs.

To read more about the program, click here.

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Anti-Hunger Policy Conference

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced new USDA efforts to improve access to healthy foods for women, infants and children at the 2016 National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference hosted by the Food Research & Action Center and Feeding America. Over the past seven years, USDA has enhanced federal nutrition programs, providing a critical safety net for millions of American children and families.

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Our own programs rely on partnership with the USDA. For example, in 2014, Feed the Children launched the Summer Food & Education Program, which partners with the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program. The program combines the federal support from USDA with Feed the Children’s logistics and transportation experience to bring food and hope to children throughout Oklahoma. Through the Summer Food & Education Program, Feed the Children served approximately 195,000 meals with the help of public funds and private partners to children at 11 sites within several cities, rural communities, and Indian Tribal organizations across Oklahoma. Read more about the project here.

The conference served as a kick-off to National Nutrition Month, observed throughout March, and was attended by anti-hunger advocates from across the country.

Africa Day for School Feeding

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March 1 was the first annual Africa Day for School Feeding, an observance sponsored by the African Union Commission, AU Member States and development partners. The day, which is centered on the theme “Home Grown School Feeding: a Conduit for Africa’s Sustainable Development”, was celebrated with continent-wide activities and highlighted by series of official events in the Nigerien capital, Niamey.

Read more about the program here.

School feeding is at the center of our organization’s efforts in Africa. In Kenya, Feed the Children partners with the Ministry of Education and the World Food Program (WFP) to provide one meal a day to school-going children in the urban slums of Nairobi and in Kajiado Counties. The meal (mostly githeri – a mixture of maize and beans) helps keep kids in school and also keeps them productive in class.

In Tanzania, children in Kisarawe District receive mid-morning porridge fortified with vitamins and minerals thanks to Feed the Children. The porridge provides a strong incentive to keep children in school and helps them focus, as some of the kids do not have breakfast from home. Feeding children each school day creates a better learning environment.

In Uganda, Feed the Children provides two meals a day (mid-morning porridge and lunch) to children in two kindergarten classes located in Northern Uganda’s Gulu District. These are crucial meals for these children; the majority do not have breakfast at home, so the meals attract kids to attend school.

To learn more about our work around the world, click here.

Backpacks and Hope in Arizona

7-2015 CDR 3063 New HELP Backpack Photos -36-Feed the Children provided more than 2,000 backpacks to Marana Unified School District, Amphitheater School District, Tucson Unified School District and Sunnyside Unified School District on Wednesday, March 9. The backpacks, containing school supplies and snacks, will be distributed throughout the school year to students experiencing hardship.

Feed the Children has distributed more than 772,000 backpacks to American children who are homeless. Our Homeless Education and Literacy Program, or H.E.L.P., provided close to 65,000 backpacks to children in fiscal year 2014 alone.