The Importance of World Water Day

For World Water Day 2017, we at Feed the Children (FEED) would like to invite you to imagine a few simple scenes. First, imagine a sweltering summer day and how much you would savor a cup of cool water. Next, imagine finally getting to bathe after a long day of work or travel. Lastly, think of getting up early to cook a big pot of oatmeal for your family’s breakfast. Now in your mind’s eye, was the cool water you drank a cloudy yellow color? Did you have to walk a mile or more to bathe in a murky river or pond? Did you consider that your family might become ill from the food you cooked with contaminated water?

The UN has declared access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) a human right. And for many who read this, clean water is so readily available that we may have never considered how different our lives would be without it. Our water is always clear and clean, which is something to be grateful for. However, for the estimated billions of people around the world without easy access to safe, clean water, this lack puts a constant strain on their health and time. Ensuring adequate WASH practices is a key global health initiative, and FEED works diligently to develop and maintain Health & Water program activities to this end. These activities vary from building water pans to collecting water from underneath dry riverbeds; from capping springs to providing safe water containers and water-treatment products.

The following anecdote provides a snapshot of the difference that such interventions can make.

In Northern Uganda, four-year-old Kidega Julius lives in a community where food insecurity had long lingered and the only water source used to be a stream in a swamp, a good distance from his home. The milky-white water was shared communally with all the people and animals in the village. It contained snakes and frogs, and it was unsafe for domestic use. With donor support, FEED constructed two shallow wells in Kidega’s village so that clean water is no longer scarce. Children can drink it, parents can cook with it and everyone can wash with it.

Clean water and proper hygiene also make a huge difference in nutritional outcomes. It doesn’t matter how healthy a child’s diet is, if all the child drinks and washes with is dirty water. That is why our Health & Water projects include presentations, home visits and campaigns to encourage proper hand washing and to teach communities how to avoid common waterborne illnesses.

While Kidega’s life has changed for the better with access to clean water, the UN estimates that more than 2 million people die every year from diarrheal illnesses linked to poor hygiene and unsafe water, and that 1.8 billion people still get their drinking water from a source that is contaminated with fecal matter. So this World Water Day, we at FEED hope that you are inspired to take action on WASH issues. You might decide to generate awareness in your community, donate to programs that provide access to clean water or keep abreast of how your congressional representatives vote to fund WASH initiatives. So how will you celebrate World Water Day?

Read more about our Health & Water work, and consider shopping our gift catalog to provide clean water to communities around the world.

FEED Celebrates National Agriculture Day

Today is the Agriculture Council of America’s (ACA) National Agriculture Day! The ACA began the National Agriculture Day program in 1973, and it has continued during National Agriculture Week every subsequent March. National Ag Day celebrates the contributions of agriculture to our everyday lives, and encourages Americans to understand how their food products are produced and the role agriculture plays in the economy.

At Feed the Children (FEED), we gratefully recognize the critical role America’s farmers play in our shared prosperity. Thanks to continual innovation and research, the U.S. enjoys an agricultural surplus unrivaled in human history. However, on this National Ag Day, FEED recognizes that there is still room for improvement, because prosperity in food production does not guarantee food security or a nutritionally aware population. The fact is that we still struggle to ensure that our most vulnerable children—even children in the same rural farming communities where so much food is produced—have access to a healthy, nourishing diet. FEED has spent nearly four decades working to fill in the gaps, whether through food distribution by our trucking fleet, the delivery of backpacks containing food and hygiene essentials, or the provision of summer meals to food-insecure kids when school is out. FEED works with donors, volunteers and corporate partners to make sure that our country’s food security and nutritional health match our agricultural accomplishments.

FEED is also active internationally, with programs in 10 countries, working to share America’s agricultural abundance with the world. You can learn more about our domestic programs here and our international programs here. You can also learn more about U.S. agriculture and National Ag Day here!

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day was initially meant to bring the plight of working women’s rights and issues into the public eye. It has since grown into a global movement to promote women’s rights as human rights and to rally for equal inclusion in political, social, and economic spaces. Whether living in the savannahs of East Africa or an apartment in East L.A., all women should have equal access to justice, education, health care, safety, economic opportunities, political influence, and every other tool necessary to reach their full potential.

At Feed the Children (FEED), we strive to provide hope and resources to those without life’s essentials so that they can reach their potential. We also believe that wherever there is adequate support for women, the whole community stands to benefit. This is why the four pillars of FEED’s international programs—Food & Nutrition, Health & Water, Education, and Livelihoods—all include aspects that benefit women, especially mothers. This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is “Be Bold for Change,” and FEED is proud to be part of the bold work to advance gender parity around the world, and even more proud of the hard work and tenacity of the women we serve.

The following descriptions highlight FEED programs that aim to attain inclusion and empowerment for women and girls.

Empowering Women as Public Health Advocates

In an effort to improve public health outcomes in underserved communities around the world, FEED organizes Care Groups in which community health workers train a core group of local women in topics such as nutrition, family planning, safe food preparation, stigma reduction, and HIV prevention. These local women become community health leaders, regularly teaching 10 to 15 of their neighbors and helping households adopt positive behaviors, so that entire families and communities have improved health and wellness outcomes. The success of Care Groups is driven by empowered women and their capacity to share and support positive change.

 Expanding Educational Opportunities for Girls

FEED recognizes that women and girls often face difficulty in achieving academic goals for a host of reasons. According to UNICEF, in cases when a family cannot meet the direct costs of schooling (school supplies, clothing, etc.) and must choose between sending a boy or a girl to school, the boy’s education often takes priority. Part of our work at FEED is pushing back against the factors that lead to such a decision in the first place.

In El Salvador and the Philippines, FEED provides regular tutoring to both mothers and children in reading and comprehension; this means that women who may have missed such instruction in their youth recapture the opportunity to attain this life-changing skill. Additionally, in order to encourage caregivers to enroll their children in school (especially girls), FEED provides educational training and community sensitization through talks, visits, and campaigns. To make attendance more attainable, FEED’s work includes school meals programs that encourage children to go to school and improve academic performance. In the same vein, FEED works with corporate partners to provide school supplies and backpacks in eight program countries and shoes in seven program communities, to directly benefit children in our programs—we strive to break down barriers that keep all children from receiving an education.

Organizing Village Savings and Loan Groups

Village savings and loan (VSL) groups are an effective approach to increasing access to capital, particularly for women. These small groups of community members save and pool their funds together in areas where formal financial institutions are not otherwise available or feasible. VSL groups incorporate women into community efforts at capacity-building, leadership development, and community solidarity. While men and women are both invited to be members of a VSL group, at least three of the five elected committee members are women, ensuring leadership across genders. FEED supports VSL groups in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and the Philippines, reaching more than 27,000 individuals in 2015.

Supporting Small Business Development

FEED is involved in various community-driven livelihood activities that give women the traction they need to create both sustainable income and social capital, such as business development in El Salvador, Malawi, and Nicaragua. Currently, FEED provides ongoing training and support for business development in areas such as bakeries, natural medicine, tailoring and fabric shops, cosmetology, and community recycling centers.  In FY 2016, FEED trained nearly 5,000 adults in El Salvador, Honduras, Malawi and Nicaragua in bakery enterprise and more than 9,000 adults in other income-generating activities. And in some cases, the women who run the bakeries become suppliers for our school feeding programs. Thus, when women are empowered to gain skills and use their talents, the effects ripple through the entire community.

 For more information about Feed the Children’s international programs and our support of women internationally, head here, and for more info on our work in the US, head here. For ideas on how you can “Be Bold for Change” as an individual, head to the International Women’s Day site.

Update: Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew, the Caribbean’s worst storm in nearly a decade, hit Haiti on Oct. 5th and a few days later made landfall in the United States. The impact on both Haiti and the United States was vast. 1.4 million Haitian people were in immediate need of humanitarian assistance, more than 40% were children. In addition, 3 million coastal US residents were evacuated from their homes.

 Because of generous donors like you affected families in 11 different communities were provided with food, water, tarps, and hygiene kits. Our Feed the Children team in Haiti are continuing to assess the long term community needs.

 In addition, your support made it possible for 15 semitrucks caring water, personal care items, and food to reach families affected in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

 Because of people like you thousands of families impacted by the devastating Hurricane Matthew were provided with food, much needed essentials, and hope! Give now to help prepare for tomorrows disasters today.

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Gerlyn Gets a Toilet

Gerlyn is an 8 year old girl living in The Philippines. Her father is a fisherman, but makes less than $100 a month. Her mother does odd jobs, such as cleaning shells or helping seaweed farmers, to earn money for the family. At times the food runs out, which creates sadness and sickness in Gerlyn’s family.

The good news is for the first time ever, this family now has their own toilet! They are especially thankful for something we all take for granted. This much needed essential provides a much better home life for her family.

There’s even more good news! Because of sponsors just like you, her school provides a feeding program that gives Gerlyn nutritious meals. She is being fed because of you.

Gerlyn and her family are extremely grateful for the programs and benefits sponsors like you provide. We believe education is the first step out of poverty and you have provided great assistance to help children like Gerlyn. Thanks to you, children like Gerlyn receive much needed school supplies, good nutritious meals, and access to clean water to wash their hands and brush their teeth. Your sponsorship also provides shoes to these children in need.

We are grateful for sponsors like you who are changing the world for the better…one child at a time.

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Top Ten of 2016

While most Americans were paying attention to politics, sports, or pop culture in 2016, they may have missed these major events that impacted the poor and hungry around the world and here in the United States:

1. Passage of the Global Food Security Act (GFSA) – The legislation, which enjoyed broad bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, allocates over $7 billion to initiatives focusing on small-scale agricultural producers and the nutrition of women and children worldwide. When he signed the legislation in July, President Obama noted that development spending is “one of the smartest investments we can make” for U.S. national security and shared prosperity. FEED supports the GFSA, and its passage was a major victory.

unnamed2. Collapse of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) – Not all hunger news in 2016 was good news. Hopes were high that the House and Senate could reconcile their respective versions of the CNR to replace the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which expired over a year ago. Although the Senate Agriculture Committee passed a bipartisan CNR, Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) said he was unable to find common ground with House colleagues and minority members of the Senate to advance the bill. A major stumbling block was a provision in the House bill that would have created a block-grant pilot program in three states. The program would cut funds for school meal programs and abolish critical federal mandates, such as eligibility requirements for free and reduced-price school lunches and nutrition standards. FEED strongly opposed these elements of the House bill.

3. Passage of the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act – This long-sought piece of legislation was first introduced over five years ago, but was finally signed by President Obama in July. It requires government agencies to closely monitor and evaluate foreign-aid programs based on their outcomes, and to improve transparency by posting data about the effectiveness of programs on foreignassistance.gov. Its unanimous approval in both the House and Senate is credited to a committed group of bipartisan sponsors.

4. Hurricane Matthew and cholera outbreak in Haiti – Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti in October. Recovery efforts have been hampered by poor infrastructure that predated the hurricane, and by an ongoing cholera epidemic for which the UN has taken partial responsibility. The cholera epidemic, which was triggered after the catastrophic 7.0 earthquake in 2010, has been further exacerbated by the poor conditions following Hurricane Matthew.

5. Endemic measles is eradicated from the Americas – The World Health Organization declared in September that no one had been infected with measles in the Americas for a full year, meaning the virus is no longer endemic in North and South America. Despite a measles outbreak last year that spread to 667 people in 27 U.S. states, the western hemisphere has not suffered an endemic case of measles since 2002.

6. War and refugees – Unfortunately, 2016 saw the continuation of violent conflicts that drove masses of refugees from Syria and Yemen. The U.S. reached its goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees in the 2016 fiscal year, and has now accepted over 12,000 Syrian refugees since the civil war began in 2011. Meanwhile, the ongoing conflict in Yemen (between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition supporting the ousted government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi) has driven the largest food-security emergency in the world. Between 7 and 10 million people are in “Crisis” (IPC Phase 3 or worse), and require immediate humanitarian assistance. At least 2 million of this total are in “Emergency” (IPC Phase 4), and are at increased risk of mortality. FEED is part of a group of 18 concerned nongovernmental organizations providing food and supplies to 12,000 Syrian refugees, two-thirds of whom are women and children.

See here.

Women carry pails of water drawn from a borehole at Chimbuli Village, Traditional Authority Chakhaza in Dowa District, Central Malawi, October 9, 2014. PHOTO FEED THE CHILDREN/AMOS GUMULIRA
Women carry pails of water drawn from a borehole at Chimbuli Village, Traditional Authority Chakhaza in Dowa District, Central Malawi, October 9, 2014. PHOTO FEED THE CHILDREN/AMOS GUMULIRA

7. El Niño drives food insecurity in Southern Africa – The strongest El Niño weather event since 1982 caused an increase in drought and heat waves across much of the world, but especially in southern Africa. Over 50 million Africans are now considered food insecure. Pervasive drought conditions have devastated the agriculture sector, which employs 80 percent of the working population in Malawi. FEED delivers food aid to over 80,000 Malawian children in 847 centers each day, provides water-purification packages, awards scholarships to help students finish high school, and organizes village savings and loan programs to help impoverished rural communities save and invest in small businesses.

unnamed-28. Ebola outbreak ends – The World Health Organization declared the epidemic over in June 2016, representing a major victory for public health officials and the NGO community. FEED and its partners in Liberia and Kenya created networks of trained Care Group Volunteers to teach public health practices, including hand washing with soap, water purification, and avoiding sick or dead animals. The volunteers also assisted communities in recognizing symptoms of the virus, and dispelling false beliefs about how the virus spreads. See here.

9. The rise and fall of Zika – Zika was declared a global health emergency in February, which precipitated massive global action against the disease: 1) the World Bank committed $150 million to combat the virus; 2) the Bank also established the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility to quickly mobilize funds to address global disease outbreaks; 3) the Obama Administration issued a “private sector call to action” to unlock vaccines, point-of- care diagnostics, and new mosquito-control options; and 4) a coalition of governments and philanthropies, most notably the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, committed $18 million to widely implement a new form of vector control. Following such efforts, the crisis was declared over in November.

10. Number of food-insecure households in the U.S. is decreasing – The USDA’s Economic Research Service issued its most recent “Household Food Security in the United States” report in September. The report found that as of 2015 there were 15.8 million food-insecure households in the U.S.—12.7% of all households. While an improvement from the 14% of food-insecure families in 2014, there are still many households that are unable to provide adequate, nutritious food for their children. Meanwhile, the number of people participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as spending on the program, has been significantly reduced because of the reintroduction of certain restrictions for childless adults, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

Dennys, 16, became a tailor for his community in El Salvador

Dennys is 16 and lives in a poor village in El Salvador. For years he was a beneficiary of our school meals programs in his community where he received a daily, nutritious meal. This food helped Dennys not only to overcome malnutrition, but also to stay in school. When he got a little older, Feed the Children, through support from our child sponsorship program, started a livelihood-development project in his community in the field of tailoring. Despite his dream of one day being a journalist, Dennys knew his family was too poor to ever send him to college. But when he saw the opportunity to learn a trade that could earn him some money to apply toward college—Dennys jumped at the chance!

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He enrolled in our tailoring project and quickly became one of the best and most talented students—finishing his certificate of completion with flying colors. Now Dennys makes suits, shirts, pants, uniforms, dresses—all kinds of clothing and sells them to the community. With the income he earns, he is able to help with the necessities of his family, as well as set aside some money for college. Dennys enjoys tailoring, and his excellent work is becoming sought-after in the village. The best part is that he is excited and hopeful for his future. Without this program, Dennys probably would have had to drop out of school and go to work in the fields, earning just a couple of dollars a day and being stuck in a life of abject poverty.

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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. 

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.

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.