News Roundup, February 24, 2016

Relief for Flint

In the wake of the Flint water crisis, Feed the Children has been mobilizing quickly and effectively, bringing together a variety of partners to provide immediate help to the area.

In April 2014, Flint’s water supply was diverted from Detroit to the Flint River. This led to the highly corrosive Flint River causing aged water pipes to leach lead into the public water supply, creating a health danger. In January 2016, Flint was declared to be in a state of emergency by Governor Rick Snyder.

Thanks to corporations, congregations, non-profits, and numerous individuals working together with Feed the Children, residents of Flint are receiving provisions to provide relief in the wake of this tragedy. A few recent examples:

Nature Made (Pharmavite) has donated and transported supplies of Vitamelts from Ontario, CA to Flint. The Children’s Dream Center received this donation and is working to distribute it to residents. The Vitamelts contain Vitamin C, which helps reduce the absortion rate of lead in the body. Medical experts estimate that some 12,000 children may have been exposed to lead poisoning in the town.

12654477_10153854083818798_2261554385516104918_nNiagara Bottling, LLC has been an invaluable partner to help alleviate the urgent crisis in Flint. The company has generously donated 28.5 semitruck loads of 0.5-liter bottled drinking water for relief efforts. This equates to 30,780 cases, 738,720 bottles, and more than 369 tons of water. The water donated by Niagara Bottling, LLC is being delivered to a warehouse in Flint during the next few weeks, where it will be distributed to the general public.

A number of organizations are working to get donated water delivered to Flint. Crossings Community Church and Acts 2 United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City are sponsoring transportation costs for five semitrucks full of water. This water is being delivered to community-outreach centers in Flint thanks to the generosity of these congregations.

“At Crossings we are committed to resolving the deadly water crisis in the third world. It would only stand to reason that we would follow the example of Jesus by extending fresh, clean water to our neighbors in Michigan as well,” said Pam Milligan, Pastor of Missions and Outreach Ministries at Crossings Community Church.

“Acts 2 has been providing clean drinking water around the world in places like El Salvador and Guatemala by putting in water wells for years. We never dreamed our own brothers and sisters in the United States would need it, too,” said Dr. Mark Foster, Founding Pastor, Acts 2 UMC. “We are glad we can help. Our hearts our broken that we would need to provide clean water for citizens of one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Pray for good government.”

Living Faith Christian Center in Baton Rouge, LA has also joined forces with Feed the Children by sponsoring the costs of transporting water, donated by Niagara Bottling, LLC. Thanks to Living Faith, one semitruck of water will roll into Flint in the coming days.

“In life, we can take for granted the bare necessities that we need to live our everyday lives. It’s not until we are confronted with a crisis that we realize just how important these things are. The needs of the people of Flint, Michigan must be met, and another life cannot be lost to such a tragic event,” said Bishop Raymond W. Johnson of Living Faith Christian Center.

Dray Technologies Inc. is also working with Feed the Children to provide disaster relief to Flint-area families. The company is covering all transportation costs for 13 semitruck loads of six-gallon jugs of drinking water, donated by Niagara Bottling, LLC, to support Feed the Children’s relief efforts.

It will take an estimated one million bottles of water per day to fulfill the basic water needs of the Flint community. The need is great and the situation is dire—we’re thankful to be a part of the solution, and you can be too. To contribute to this cause, please contact Feed the Children at 1-800-627-4556, or Kevin Richardson, Director of Church and Volunteer Engagement of Feed the Children, at 405-945-4196.

 

Backpacks Provide a Leg Up

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Americold and Feed the Children provided 500 backpacks to students at Seaborn Lee Elementary School in Atlanta earlier this month.

About 300 of the company’s associates assembled the backpacks for distribution, containing school supplies and basic hygiene essentials. Dozens if not hundreds of similar backpack builds are happening around the country in conjunction with Feed the Children’s H.E.L.P., Homeless Education and Literacy Program. This is Americold’s second program contribution.

The backpacks will afford local Atlanta, GA, students an equal opportunity to succeed in the classroom, creating a brighter future for those who otherwise may not have had enough to continue in school.

“In our first year of partnership, we’re proud to have ‘pick ‘n’ packed’ 500 backpacks with school supplies for Atlanta children,” said Fred Boehler, Americold’s President and CEO. “We also donated more than $30,000 in food transportation services, with 20 full semitruck loads supporting the Home Front Harvest and Feed the Children summer meal programs.” Americold hopes to build on these statistics in this second year of partnership.

“We are always delighted when local organizations form partnerships with our schools to enhance student learning,” said Kenneth Zeff, Interim Superintendent for Fulton County Schools. “Not only are you providing a gift that is useful right now, you are also inspiring students to think about the future.”

“Since the launch of our H.E.L.P. program in 2006, Feed the Children has distributed more than 772,000 backpacks to homeless students in America,” said J.C. Watts, Jr., Feed the Children President and CEO. “It’s because of partners like Americold that this vital effort is possible. Together, we can help these children succeed and work toward the greater goal of breaking the cycle of poverty.”

If you’d like to help give a child a good start to school with a backpack, visit our gift catalog.

 

 

 

News Roundup, February 8, 2016

Clean Water for Flint

Many of us have followed the news coming out of Flint Michigan with growing alarm and concern for the residents there. Feed the Children has partnered with Teleperformance, Niagara Bottling, LLC, and Children’s Dream Center to put action behind those concerns. Teleperformance sponsored the transportation costs for three semitrucks full of water. The water was donated by Niagara Bottling, LLC and delivered to the Children’s Dream Center late last month.

Teleperformance and its employees are longtime supporters of Feed the Children and its ongoing disaster relief efforts. They sponsored this delivery to help aid those affected by this major public health emergency.

“On behalf of Teleperformance and our volunteers, we are very grateful to be working with Feed the Children and Children’s Dream Center to help provide relief to families touched by this recent catastrophe,” said Kerry Black, Director of Corporate Human Resources for Teleperformance, U.S.A. “It is through collaborations like this that we are able to make a tangible difference during a time of great need.”

“Because of the generosity and readiness of Teleperformance, Niagara Bottling, LLC and the Children’s Dream Center, Feed the Children is able to aid families who need help during this crisis,” said J.C. Watts, Feed the Children President and CEO. “Together we can provide assistance to the resilient residents of Flint.”

A Pat on the Back for Our Truckers

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The truck drivers who make up FTC Transportation, Inc. are the backbone of our community events around the country. They transport food and needed supplies to people who need them, when they need them. Thanks to their dedication and commitment, we’re able to serve more than ten million hungry people each year.

We’re thrilled these dedicated workers have been recognized for their excellence by Best Fleets to Drive For, an industry group. Launched in the summer of 2008 by CarriersEdge and Truckload Carriers Association, the Best Fleets initiative runs through the fall and winter each year. The program identifies trends, shares best practices, and publicly recognizes the for-hire carriers providing the best workplaces for their drivers.

Congratulations to the FTC Transportation team! Check out our video that heralds these often unsung heroes.

Whataburger—What a Partner

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One of our greatest skills is bringing together diverse partners—businesses, non-profits, governmental agencies, donors, and volunteers—to help create a world where no child goes to bed hungry. We couldn’t do a fraction of what we do without these various groups coming together. We’re grateful to Whataburger for their recent support of our work. Thank you!

Fervent Tour Partners with Feed the Children

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Speaking of partners, our artist program is one of our flagship partnership efforts. Throughout the year we work with musicians and other performers to share the good news about what Feed the Children is doing. Artists show their support from the stage.

We’re excited to partner on the Fervent Tour featuring Priscilla Shirer and Anthony Evans, now performing in venues around the country. We’re looking for volunteers to get the word out about Feed the Children at these and other events. Sign up here, and we’ll give you everything you need to help out.

H.E.L.P. for the Homeless

12628484_10153841956483798_8126958890110323566_oSucceeding in school as a homeless child is tough. Kids who are homeless are three times more likely to drop out of school than kids with homes. But we know education is the key to breaking the cycle and ensuring a better life. That’s why we created H.E.L.P.: the Homeless Education & Literacy Program.

H.E.L.P. is one of the few programs of its kind in the nation. Since its inception in 2006, the program has focused on providing children who are homeless with backpacks and basic supplies they need in order to be successful in school. Recently one of our friends who works as a Homeless/Foster Care Liaison in Texas shared this message about our work:

“I wanted to extend our heartfelt appreciation for the items you sent us for our homeless students. The students love the high quality, beautiful products. These types of products are items that our students just cannot afford as many are ‘couch surfers.’ What you do matters and makes a difference in our students’ lives.”

Want to make a difference? It’s easy and costs just $20 for a backpack and supplies. Click here.

Child Hunger in America: Katie’s Story

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Katie (names have been changed to protect the privacy of those we serve) can be sweet and silly, as you can see in the video above. She wasn’t shy in front of the camera. She enthusiastically told us how much she loves to play with dolls. And that she likes to read. But she says, “I can only read a little…the words are too long.”

When I ask her about food, her smile fades and her eyebrows furrow.

“Sometimes we go to the food giveaway…because we run out of food and we need food,” Katie explains.

She’s only 8, but Katie knows her family struggles to get enough to eat. She has 2 older brothers and a baby sister.

It’s heartbreaking for her mom, Tiffany, but hunger is often their reality. This reality leads to tough choices.

“A lot of times I have put my bills aside…‘cause my kids come first,” Tiffany says. “For my kids to have food, I won’t pay this bill this month — just for them to eat.”

“…I won’t pay this bill this month — just for them to eat.”

— Tiffany, Katie’s mom

When I asked this overwhelmed mom what the hardest thing she’s had to do to feed her kids, she told me:

“We had to beg…with the kids, when it’s got so bad, we’ve had to beg.”

Meet urgent needs for a hurting family

You can help a mom like Tiffany feed her children. Your gift today can provide a box of food and a box of essentials to help a child like Katie. It’s just $38 for both boxes! Please give today, if you can. You’ll offer a family help and hope — and put a smile on the face of a child like Katie.

Donate

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

News Roundup, January 11, 2016–Thank You Edition

One of Feed the Children’s greatest strengths is our ability to bring partners together—corporations, philanthropic organizations, non-profits, and artists—to help fight hunger here in the U.S. and around the world. Today’s blog roundup celebrates just a few of those partnerships. Thank you one and all! And be sure to let these organizations know on social media how much you appreciate their support of our work.

Steph Curry: MVP of Our Hearts

Golden State Warriors All-Star guard and NBA MVP Stephen Curry and his family once again teamed up with us to provide support to 400 local Oakland families for the holidays. (See featured photo above.) With financial backing from the Stephen Curry Foundation and the Warriors Community Foundation, the Curry family personally distributed to each family a 25-pound food box; a 10-pound box of basic essentials including shampoo, conditioner, lotion and personal-care items; and a box of assorted Avon products. The event was held at Beebe Memorial Cathedral and was the third year the Curry family and the Warriors partnered with us to provide Bay Area families in need with food and goods during the holidays.

This event is part of the Warriors’ Season of Giving community outreach initiative and the NBA Cares Season of Giving league-wide campaign, as Warriors players, coaches and community ambassadors participates in events throughout November and December to brighten the lives of Bay Area families and youth this holiday season.

Saying Hello to Hello Products

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We’re tremendously excited about our new partnership with Hello Products. They’re providing more than 50,000 tubes and bottles of much-needed toothpaste and mouthwash products to families we serve. These items have already been added to the 10-pound essentials boxes being distributed around the U.S. beginning January 2016. We’re thrilled to be working with an organization that’s dedicated to defeating hunger and making the world a better, friendlier place. Miles of smiles to you, friends!

Artists Bring the Love

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Last month’s KLOVE Christmas Tour was full of great music and great enthusiasm for Feed the Children, particularly our child sponsorship program. Pictured is Warren Barfield making his appeal for child sponsors to a large crowd at the Denver event. All told, the tour visited sixteen cities and spread the word to thousands of fans, many of whom made a commitment to sponsor a child.

We’re so thankful to the generous artists who give their talent and their hearts to help kids be kids!

PepsiCo and Frito-Lay: Helping Kids Be Kids Since 2009

We celebrate our long-standing partnership with PepsiCo and Frito-Lay. Since 2009, thousands of volunteers have joined together with us to provide more than 53,200 families with food and daily necessities.

In 2010, Detroit was home to one of the largest Feed the Children events. Sue Brewster, Frito-Lay Senior Customer Service Manager and seven-time Feed the Children event volunteer, remembers it well. “It was our first year in Detroit and we ambitiously set to serve 4,000 families,” recalled Sue.  “What was originally schedule for 4-hour event was extended many hours longer until we saw the final family served.”

In 2015 alone, our combined contributions reached 8,400 families across nine cities.  Check out the infographic for more.

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Making Dreams Come True

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During the Christmas holidays, hundreds of children and coaches came together in Oklahoma City to provide holiday gifts for the 3rd Annual Xtreme Dream Toy Drive. With more than 30 teams participating in the Dream Athletics, Inc. holiday basketball tournament, they were able to provide hundreds of toys for children. We’re so thankful to be receiving this generous donation from Dream Athletics and even more thankful for the spirit of generosity present this season.  

A Gift from the Heart

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We are immensely honored to receive this generous gift from the estate of Daisy Stacks in memory of her daughter, Nehoma Fleming. Daisy’s kindness will continue to bless children and families around the world by providing food, health, water, disaster aid and education in the communities we serve. Pictured with the check are David L. Drake, Daisy Stacks’s cousin; Bob Brown, Director of Planned Giving; and John Frick, Vice President of Church and Volunteer Engagement. To learn more about Planned Giving to Feed the Children, visit our website.

Serving Those Who Serve

We couldn’t be prouder of our work to support our servicemen and women and their families. Our Homefront Harvest program brought countless partners and sponsors together and had a huge impact. But don’t take our word for it:

Homefront Harvest Wrap Up Info Graphic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News Roundup, December 28, 2015

Bikers with a Big Heart

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Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. recently presented a check for $31,373 to Feed the Children as part of its Ninth Annual Feed the Children Charity Day at the company’s Cypress, CA, headquarters.

The money was raised through the ‘hard work and generosity of its employees, according to Yamaha.

Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., raises money for Feed the Children through employee donations, special dealer fundraising activities, and direct corporate donations from Yamaha’s customer satisfaction team. The company’s Customer Satisfaction Survey program makes a donation for each survey returned by a Yamaha Motorsports customer.

“Feed the Children is proud to partner with Yamaha Motor Corporation,” said Travis Arnold, Feed the Children Interim CEO/President and COO. “We know that, when we combine our efforts, we will have a greater impact on the lives of families who need us most–right here in America.”

Star Touring And Riding (S.T.A.R.) volunteers were on hand at the event to help deliver donated food and supplies to the local Feed the Children office at the end of the day.

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Feed the Children Headquarters Provides Hands-on Help

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“We were going to only have sandwiches on Christmas day…”
“This food is saving our lives…”
“I walked 4 miles to get here…”
“We live in this car…”

These are just a few personal stories we heard at our distribution event in Oklahoma City.

Thanks to a generous gift from the Elizabeth Stevens estate, we were able to distribute a semitruck full of food and essentials to help over 400 Oklahoma families in need earlier this month. And, a very special thanks to Mid First Bank for providing warm hats and a helping hand in the cold.

Families from Hilldale Elementary School were the recipients of the food and supplies, which included a 25-pound food box; a 10-pound box of basic essentials like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and personal-care items; a box of assorted Avon products, as well as blankets, backpacks, Disney books, and hats from MidFirst Bank.

“One hundred percent of our students come from poverty,” said Hilldale Elementary Principal Price Brown. “We’re always looking for opportunities that make sure our students are able to enjoy holidays and feel like other kids.”

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A Very Special Graduation

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The Dorina Kal Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) in Uganda held a graduation ceremony for eleven kids moving on from kindergarten to Class 1.

The event, held last month, was attended by parents, teachers and community members, all of whom were as excited as the kids themselves. The little ones dressed up in convocation gowns and wore happy faces as they strode in confidence. Each child received a certificate of kindergarten completion that would allow them admission to class one. Feed the Children gave the kids books and pencils.

During their speeches, community leaders counseled parents on the importance of education. Feed the Children’s representative, Acire Mugisha, also spoke, urging parents to continue nurturing their kids so they can realize and achieve their dreams.

Feed the Children’s partnership with Dorina Kal ECDC goes back to early 2013, when we first engaged with the community. We later constructed classrooms to host kindergarten children in Pabbo Sub County in Northern Uganda, then began providing mid-morning porridge and lunch.  The meals are crucial, since a majority of the children do not have breakfast at home—the meals also attract kids to attend school.

In helping kids to be kids, and in an effort to create a conducive learning environment for young learners, Feed the Children also supported the center with playing equipment like seesaws, swings, and slides. We also drilled a shallow well (borehole) in the kindergarten compound, which serves the kids in school as well as the surrounding community to provide for clean water when the seasonal streams dry up during the dry season.

Feed the Children also promotes health practices like washing hands with soap, and we constructed a drainable latrine at the center to promote good hygiene practices.  We worked closely with the local government, who inspected the facility to ensure quality standards were adhered to before kids used the latrines.

Feed the Children also promotes kitchen gardens; the school grows vegetable which are used to supplement meals provided by Feed the Children. kids now have a balanced diet sourced from the garden.

Congratulations to the children and their families—may the good work in this community continue!

-Edna Onchiri

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Food and Fun in Phoenix… and Beyond

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PepsiCo celebrated its third annual Feeding Phoenix Event earlier this month, bringing food, hygiene, and Avon products to 800 families in the area. PepsiCo employees served as volunteers for the event, working with partner agencies Phoenix Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army.

Additional partners brought holiday cheer to the kids in attendance. JAKKS Toys provided toys for the children, and First Book made sure kids left the event with a book to call their own.

But the generosity doesn’t stop in Phoenix. We’ve had a busy month ensuring families have a happy holidays, with food distribution events in Nashville; Jamaica, NY; and Blytheville, AR.

And in Unadilla, GA, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan joined the effort, helping provide some 400 families with food and supplies. Ragan was the highest bidder for a hauler full of food at the Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship event last month.

“I am excited to partner with Feed the Children and The Lord’s Pantry to help provide meals for 400 families in my hometown of Unadilla and Dooly County,” Ragan said. “During the Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship event, I met the Feed the Children group and learned how they can impact a community like mine. During this Christmas season, it will be a blessing to provide help for families in need.”

You are an indispensable part of this work. Donate now so we can continue helping kids be kids, and creating a world where no child goes to bed hungry.

Hunger and the Holidays: Help Feed Our Neighbors

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.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” croons the voice over the sound system at the mall. It’s also one of the busiest times of year for many people. We’re looking for just the right gifts for the people we love most. We’re cooking for the neighborhood potluck, or testing out recipes for the cookie exchange, or attending kids’ holiday concerts—and the list goes on.

The hustle and bustle of this season can feel overwhelming. But few of us reading this probably have to deal with piecing together a plan for getting our kids enough food on top of everything else.

Sadly, that’s a reality for too many families, such as Shawntaneice, a single mother of two sweet boys in a small Appalachian town.

Shawntaneice had a comfortable and stable childhood, supported by her chef father and a nurturing mother. She’s brought that same stability to her own children, eight year old Ah’Johreyan and seven year old Ah’Darian. They didn’t have a lot of frills, but she was able to provide a comfortable home, three square meals, and the occasional treat— a fast-food meal or small toy.

All that changed when she was let go from her job at a food processing plant. Shawntaneice has a strong work ethic. She’s worked from the time she was old enough to do so-so this job loss was a personal blow. She’s been on lots of interviews and is trying to find temp work, but she hasn’t had much luck.

As a single mother, the job loss is a major economic blow. These days, putting food on the table means cobbling together a plan using all kinds of sources. Food stamps only do part of the job; by mid-month they’re starting to run out. So Shawnteneice has to ask her family for help, or wrangle a dinner invitation from a friend. She’s been to food pantries, she says. The school lunch program is a Godsend for her boys. She’s considered asking people she knows for a loan, but how could she ever pay it back? The hole keeps getting bigger.

There have been a couple of times that she’s had to put the kids to bed hungry. In those cases, she gives them something to drink, so they’ll have something in their bellies. Then she tries to keep them entertained until they fall asleep, their minds distracted from the pangs.

Holidays can be the hardest time for families like Shawntaneice’s. Food is hard enough to cobble together; a Christmas tree and gifts seem impossible. “You know, a child waking up on Christmas morning and not having gifts… they’re not going to understand that.”

As we go about our preparations for Christmas, let’s also remember Shawntaneice and her family—and so many people facing similar struggles. Say a prayer. Give to your local food pantry. And for that person on your list who already “has everything,” consider a donation in their name to Feed the Children. Jesus asked us to feed the hungry and care for the stranger. What better way to honor his birth than taking His words to heart?

During this season of Christmas, consider giving to 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.

News Roundup, December 14, 2015

Every two weeks we share short updates on our work throughout the organization and among our many corporate and non-profit partners. Enjoy and be inspired!  

Hope at the Holidays

Feed the Children brought some holiday hope to 1,000 families in Lansing, Michigan recently, working together with a very special partner—basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

It’s the second year for the Magic Johnson Foundation’s Holiday Hope program, which began last year in Detroit.

“This is where I’m from,” said Johnson, quoted in the Lansing State Journal. “I wanted to bless some families here, and not just families, but the kids as well. I wanted to come home and do something positive, something good.”

12289720_1174365902592732_6069625811917437429_nJohnson brought his own family members with him, along with Michigan State University’s men’s basketball team and coach Tom Izzo, who handed out toys and coats to children inside the school before helping with the food distribution.

The event took place a few weeks ago at Everett High School. Families received a 25-pound box of food; a 10-pound box of items such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion and personal care items; and a box of Avon products.

We’re thankful to the Magic Johnson Foundation, the Michigan State men’s basketball team, and all of the volunteers and partners who made this holiday hope possible.

 

Around the World with Feed the Children

Me with Daniel (edited)If you haven’t seen Tanya Roloff’s dispatches from her recent trips to Kenya, Uganda and the Philippines, you’re missing out! Tanya is Producer, Writer, and Photographer for Feed the Children and offers her perspectives while traveling #aroundtheworldin30days.

As she prepared for her trip, she reflected on her role as storyteller for the children we serve and are inspired by every day: “This, to me, is one of the biggest rewards of my work — to give these resilient, beautiful, talented, incredible people a voice and a platform to share their struggles, hopes, dreams, pains, fears.” And you won’t want to miss her account of meeting a precious little boy named Daniel. Daniel hasn’t had an easy life, but thanks to the dedication of Feed the Children staff, as well as our donors and partners, he has hope for a fresh start.

Thank you Tanya for sharing your experiences and passion with us. Check out her blogs here and here.

 

Coats for the Winter

One Warm Coat, First Book, and Feed the Children have joined forces with outerwear manufacturer Tahsin USA to distribute an estimated 20,000 coats, hats, gloves, pants, and rain gear to families across America.

With the arrival of cold weather in much of the US, these organizations are collaborating to create a supply chain that will get outerwear to families in need. Shipments are being handled by FTC Transportation and are distributed to Feed the Children partner agencies across the US. Big thanks to Tahsin, First Book and One Warm Coat! Together we are making a difference. To learn more about our partners in this effort: www.onewarmcoat.org and www.firstbook.org.

 

Kudos for H.E.L.P.

Feed the Children’s Homeless Education and Literacy ProgramFeed the Children’s Homeless Education and Literacy Program (H.E.L.P.) has received a 2015 President’s Award by the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY). During their tenure, NAEHCY Board Presidents have the opportunity to grant a national recognition award to outstanding partners who have made a positive national impact. For the last decade, the H.E.L.P. program has been benefiting students experiencing homelessness by partnering with NAEHCY to distribute backpacks, books, school supplies, non-perishable food and personal-care items.

Feed the Children connects with NAEHCY leaders, state coordinators and other McKinney-Vento leaders in all 50 states. Throughout the last 10 years, the program has donated more than $35 million dollars in supplies and more than 900,000 backpacks.

Kids all over the world need backpacks and school supplies—to help provide these essentials so kids can learn and thrive, check out our gift catalog.

 

Improving Community Sanitation

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A child from Thochi Community Based Child Care Centre in Malawi visits a latrine at his home. Through use of care group volunteers, the Feed the Children office in Malawi has trained community members on proper health and sanitation practices.

The Feed the Children office in Kenya joined stakeholders, community members and school children in Kajiado and Turkana Counties to mark World Toilet Day on November 19.

In Turkana, the event was held at Kaikor Baraza park in Kibish Sub County while in Kajiado, stakeholders gathered to mark the day at Entaretoi village.

Through the Health & Water pillar, Feed the Children implements activities geared towards improving the sanitation status of communities. One of the pillar’s key outcomes is to increase sanitation facilities coverage in institutions and households in order to reduce and eventually eliminate diarrheal diseases associated with open defecation.

For the past three years, Feed the Children has constructed and rehabilitated 149 latrines in the urban slums of Nairobi, Kajiado and Samburu counties in order to reduce the struggles some children face for lack of access to latrines.

World Toilet Day is marked annually with an aim to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge. It was created in 2001 to raise global awareness of the daily struggle for proper sanitation that over 2.5 billion people face.

 

Music with a Purpose

blah2GRAMMY®-nominated NewSong performed at First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia this weekend as part of their Very Merry Christmas Tour. Benefiting Feed the Children, the festive night featured GRAMMY®-nominated pop/rockers Building 429 and best-selling singer/songwriter Plumb, the band Reno, as well as special guest, three-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Darrell Waltrip.

We’re proud to partner with artists all over the country to help inspire generosity through child sponsorship. As Jeremy Willet, Artist Relations Event Manager for Feed the Children, wrote recently on our blog: “What if this Christmas, you and your family added another ‘first’ to your list? What if the Christmas of 2015 will be remembered as the Christmas in which you sponsored a child at one of your favorite concerts?”

“The Christmas tour always proves to be one of the highlights of our year,” said NewSong founding member and Atlanta native Eddie Carswell. “It’s a time to celebrate the hope we’ve been given through Jesus’ birth, and it will be an honor to lead audiences in worshipping Him with our friends Building 429 and Plumb.”

To learn more about the tours happening this month, and how they benefit Feed the Children, check out Jeremy’s blog.

A Big Word of Thanks

As the United States prepares to gather around Thanksgiving tables this week, many of us feel thankful for the abundance of blessings in our lives. Families will gather, tables will be set, hands will be clasped and words of gratitude shared.

Yet we know that half a world away, and right in our own communities, people still struggle to eke out a living or to put enough food on the table.
One in seven children around the world are hurt by the scourge of poverty.
Three thousand children under age 5 die every day from diseases that come from dirty water.

Sometimes the news is so bad, it’s tempting to tune out. We turn on cable news, or even our social media feeds, and the stories can assault our senses.

The challenges we face as a people can seem overwhelming, and too often it feels like progress is impossible.

It’s a privilege to work with people just like you—people who share out of their abundance, and in some cases their poverty, to make sure children around the world have a box of food, or a backpack full of fresh new school supplies, or a pair of sturdy shoes, or a nutritious hot meal at school each day. On this day of Thanksgiving, we’re grateful for you.

The needs of our neighbors around the world and around the corner seem greater than we can manage. But as Mother Theresa put it, “We can do no great things, just small things with great love.” And those small things add up—we see it happen every day. It’s in the couple who sponsors a child, or the twenty-something who rolls up her sleeves to pack food boxes, or the child who uses his allowance to buy a water purification kit for a family he’ll never even meet.

These small acts of goodness give us hope and make our work possible. But even more importantly, these gifts actually work to stem the tide of poverty and malnutrition. Internationally, in fiscal year 2014, Feed the Children distributed 20 million pounds of food, medicine, and other necessities valued at $78 million to children and families in 18 countries, benefiting over 4.9 million individuals globally. Around the world, close to 263,000 children are fully engaged in our child-focused food and nutrition programs, which regularly provide nutritious meals to children who may otherwise go an entire day without eating. Last year, Feed the Children sponsored over 11,500 children, addressing the root causes of poverty through child sponsorship and school sponsorship.

In addition to our donors, we’re thankful today to work side by side with incredible communities, families and children who dream big dreams for a life beyond poverty, and who are willing to work hard to make those dreams a reality. Consider Ashly, a five-year-old from Honduras. We’ve been partnering with her community since 2007; the partnership began with an AIDS prevention project and has grown and flourished over the years.

In 2011, Feed the Children inaugurated a Community Feeding Center and stocked it with kitchen supplies, a stove, benches and chairs, and food supplies. The Feeding Center is run by mothers in the community and it provides more than 400 children a hot meal 5 times a week. Ashly and her siblings are provided with two pairs of TOMS shoes a year, and last year the children received vitamins which helped improve their general health. Such assistance greatly alleviates the economic burden at home, but more importantly, it can help break the cycle of poverty by providing Ashly and other children a chance for a more stable and fruitful life.

Ashly and her mother.
Ashly and her mother.

Ashly’s mother is overwhelmed with gratitude: “This program has been a blessing to the whole community. Feed the Children really cares about our children’s welfare.” And Ashly says, “My mother can now buy more food for our family thanks to Feed the Children.”

On behalf of Ashly, and children around the world—thank you.

As we enter this season of giving and joy, you have an opportunity to support children just like Ashly, around the world and close to home. This Tuesday, December 1 is Giving Tuesday, and you’re invited to stand with us to help end child hunger once and for all. Each of our small actions will combine to make a big impact. Visit www.crowdrise.com/feedthechildren-tower to make your donation. And share this opportunity with your friends on social media and ask them to join you.

Gratitude upon gratitude.
Gift by gift—
We will make a difference.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Spotlight on Tanzania: The Power of Sports

Study after study shows the benefit of sports for children’s development. Kids who play sports learn important social skills like teamwork and cooperation. They develop confidence and self-esteem, and generally perform better in school. And of course, sports help kids’ bodies grow stronger and healthier.

That’s why the Feed the Children office in Tanzania has been providing sports equipment and uniforms to children at primary schools we serve. Recently, the football and netball teams of Kauzeni Primary School in the Kisarawe District received new sports supplies that their families might not have been able to afford. Each player received a set of two uniforms, and each team received two balls—footballs (soccer balls) for the boys’ football team and two netballs for the girls’ netball team. The supplies were presented by Matt Panos, Feed the Children Chief Development Officer; Scott Killough, Senior Vice President of International Operations; Seintje Veldhuis, Regional Director, Africa; and Silvia Andena, Country Director, Tanzania.

Matt Panos and Scott Killough with Kauzeni students
Matt Panos and Scott Killough with Kauzeni students

For the kids we serve, team and individual sports aren’t frivolous activities. They are vital ways of promoting physical, emotional and mental health. And it also provides a means of fun and friendship, not to mention joy. Just look at these smiles:

*Kauzeni Primary School kids with balls received from Feed the Children

Our partnership with Kauzeni Primary School goes back to 2010, when we started engaging parents and teachers of the school through forums to discuss how Feed the Children could partner in the community. In time, Feed the Children constructed a kitchen and provided the school with cooking equipment. Children then began receiving mid-morning porridge. The school also benefits from TOMS shoes (since 2013), and pupils are trained in hygiene practices such as proper handwashing methods to prevent disease and how to properly clean latrines. Feed the Children has also provided the school with cleaning tools like brushes and brooms to improve sanitation and reduce the incidence of disease.

Mtongani Primary School students received new equipment this summer.
Mtongani Primary School students received new equipment this summer.

The Feed the Children office in Tanzania also provided sports supplies to children at Mtongani Primary School at Mlandizi in Kibaha, Tanzania. More than 1,500 children, teachers and community leaders attended the presentation of equipment in July, including the village chairperson, Mr. Dunia Said, who was the chief guest. Juaji Abdalla Juaji has a daughter at the school and is also a professional football coach. He volunteered to take part in coaching the school. He said, “Today has been a special day for me, I am really happy. [On behalf of the parents,] we thank Feed the Children for remembering our children and continuing to support us.”

Learn more about Tanzania here—including how you can be a part of what we’re doing.

Country Spotlight: El Salvador — An Interview with Ricardo Candray

This month we begin a new feature on our blog, Country Spotlight. In addition to our general blog content, each month we will be sharing a series of articles about one of our ten partner countries. We hope our Country Spotlight will give readers a deeper picture of the work we do around the world.

We kick things off with a focus on El Salvador and an interview with Country Director Ricardo Alcides Candray Menendez, who joined Feed the Children in 1991. Special thanks to Mayra Humphrey and Meylin Quan for conducting the interview.

How did you first get into this work? Why focus on children specifically? The opportunity arrived at the right time. I was called for an interview and found out this was my true calling. I decided to focus on children, first of all because I have children of my own. I have never had to see them go through hard times—so the passion started thanks to my children. But I also feel whole when I see the smiles on the faces of the children we serve, because I know that at least they had a decent meal on that day.

What motivates you in your work? Is there a person, story or statistic that gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you going? What motivates me is being able to help children, mothers, families and communities. There is a child that I met a long time ago. His name is Edwin, from the community of El Refugio. His father suffered from alcoholism, so he looked up to me as a father figure. Edwin is now all grown up, because we gave him an opportunity [to grow and thrive]. So every child I meet in a community reminds me of Edwin.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing children and families in El Salvador, and how does Feed the Children address those challenges? Some of the biggest challenges are poverty, hunger, unemployment and health. Feed the Children’s four-pillar approach helps address these challenges. In fact we do much more than provide food—we teach and empower children, parents, care providers, and their communities to reverse malnutrition and defeat hunger. The four pillars of our child-focused community-development program are Food & Nutrition, Health & Water, Education, and Livelihoods.

*IMG_5484Is there a recent story you can share about the work being done in El Salvador on behalf of children? We recently have been receiving donations from Vitamin Angels. Now children below the ages of 5 are receiving Vitamin-A supplementation, and the mothers that are pregnant are also receiving prenatal vitamins, which makes me really happy because this vitamin helps with vision, particularly in low light. Chronic deficiency can cause blindness.

What’s one misconception people in the United States might have about El Salvador? What would you want us to know about this country? The most common misconception is that only delinquents and gangs live in this country. We would like for people to know Salvadorians are nice, responsible and hardworking people. Not all the population are wrongdoers. Millions of Salvadorians love their country and believe in God.

Just for fun:

Interests and hobbies: Soccer

Favorite vacation destination: United States

Favorite restaurant: “Mariscos Beto” ( Beto’s Shrimp)

Favorite scripture: Philippians 4:13

Favorite American city: Pasadena

Favorite song/artist: Marcos Witt

What did you want to be when you were 6 years old?: Teacher

Top 3 on your bucket list: Go to Africa; Get involved in a mission to help evangelize people; That all of my family is converted to believing in God and Jesus Christ.

Your favorite day at Feed the Children so far? In October 2013 when we received a donation to build our new feeding center in the community of La Labor.