News Roundup, May 23, 2016

Oklahoma City Dodgers Take a Swing at Hunger

The Oklahoma City Dodgers and The Salvation Army are stepping up to bat with Feed the Children and community organizations in the Oklahoma City area to help strike out hunger. On Wed., May 18, 400 families received food and essentials filling one Feed the Children semitruck at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. In Oklahoma City alone, nearly 17 percent of families live below the poverty line and are unsure of how they will provide their next meal.

Each pre-identified, participating 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. Additional community organizations participated in the event by providing complimentary services and products to the families, including nutritional services provided by ONIE, financial literacy services provided by MidFirst Bank, career and family services, health screenings, and free haircuts provided by Fade N Up Barber Shop, Kompliments Hair Studio and Raylyn Taylor Salon.

13227726_10154147845423798_938997532661586256_oVolunteers from the OKC Dodgers, The Salvation Army and Feed the Children were on-site serving and assisting, as well as the OKC Dodgers President/General Manager, Michael Byrnes, The Salvation Army Associate Area Commander, Major Charlotte Gargis, and Feed the Children President and CEO, J.C. Watts, Jr.

“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 the OKC Dodgers and The Salvation Army in the fight to end hunger here in our own backyard.”

With this event the OKC Dodgers and The Salvation Army are helping kick off Feed the Children’s FEED Caravan initiative. The FEED Caravan consists of Feed the Children semitrucks traveling across the state providing food and books to children in need during the summer months. One in four children in Oklahoma faces hunger, and the threat is even greater during the summer months when they don’t have access to their school lunch programs. The FEED Caravan will give these children an opportunity to receive the essentials they deserve. Breaking the cycle of hunger gives children the chance to enjoy their summer like every child should.

One Day without Shoes

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 4.54.53 PMOn Tues., May 10, Feed the Children’s longtime partner, TOMS, set a goal to donate 100,000 new pairs of shoes to children in need. Feed the Children employees helped raise awareness by spending the day without shoes. One way Feed the Children employees were able to do this was by symbolically sponsoring a child and then writing the child’s name on their feet.

With each use of the hashtag #withoutshoes on Instagram May 10, TOMS planned to donate a new pair of shoes to children in 10 countries. Feed the Children employees used their personal social-media channels in an effort to get others to join in on the fun.

Each year, TOMS designates one day without shoes to raise awareness for children’s health and education across the globe. TOMS’s dream is that one day, all children will have shoes. Feed the Children has been teaming up with TOMS since 2011, providing hope and resources to those without life’s essentials.

Feed the Children Reaches Out Following Tornado

One of Feed the Children’s primary activities is to help areas affected by natural disasters, whether around the world or in our own backyard. Just recently we took part in a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) in Sulphur, Oklahoma following a tornado on May 9.

Capture1MARC events allow a variety of agencies to come together in a coordinated response to these disasters. This month’s event took place at the Crossway Baptist Church Recreation Center. Feed the Children contributed two pallets of disaster relief boxes, food and toiletries.

In Murray County alone, some fifty-five homes were destroyed, eleven sustained major damage, and seven others were affected in some way. Garvin, Johnston, Coal and several other counties also had reports of damage, but the bulk of the devastation took place in the Sulphur area. Other participating agencies included the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Methodist Disaster Response of Oklahoma, Catholic Charities, and Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma.

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, for a total of 13.9 million individuals globally in fiscal year 2014.

Massachusetts Families Receive Help and Hope

Price Rite joined Feed the Children, PepsiCo and the Revival Time Evangelical Center to lend a hand to families in Springfield, Massachusetts last week. Some 800 families received a variety of items at Price Rite of West Springfield, where two Feed the Children semi-trucks’ worth of food and essentials were distributed. In Springfield, nearly 15 percent of families live below the poverty line.

All participating families were pre-identified based on need by the Revival Time Evangelical Center. 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. Families also received an additional food donation from Price Rite. Volunteers were on-site to help distribute the items to families.

The event is one of many Feed the Children has planned across the country to help feed bodies, minds and futures. “Price Rite is proud to join Feed the Children in its efforts to help local families in need,” said Jim Dorey, executive vice president for Price Rite. “As a food company, alleviating hunger and food insecurity in the communities served by our Price Rite stores has always been a focus of our charitable giving. By partnering with Feed the Children, we can help ease the stress on struggling families by supplying them with basic but important items for their homes.”

The supermarket chain contributes approximately $400,000 annually to local food banks and food pantries to benefit local families in need within the communities it serves. Heading into the second year of its partnership with Feed the Children, Price Rite will host eight to ten events with the charity organization during 2016, donating more than 40,000 pounds of food and other essentials per event as part of the program.

 

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. 

Child Hunger in America: Aiyden’s Story

“Sometimes I get afraid because there’s nothing in the house to eat.”

That’s what 7-year-old Aiyden told me (names have been changed to protect the privacy of those we serve).

He also said, “When we don’t have food we’ll die and we can’t, we’ll be in the grave.”

Very serious words for one so young. The harsh reality of this family’s situation is stealing Aiyden’s childhood. He knows his mom used to have a good job, but was laid off. He knows she’s trying to find another one, but hasn’t yet.

“When Mommy’s not working, she don’t have a lot of money,” he says. “She told us she’s not able to buy a lot of food.”

“I run out of food lots of times,” says Aiyden’s mom, Shemika. “My children have went to bed hungry before.”

Shemika worries constantly about losing the car, the house — even about losing her boys because she struggles to provide for them.

family

Aiyden has found a way to help fill his empty, aching stomach:

“Sometimes when we run out of food he saves food from school and then he brings it home and he put it under his pillow so whenever we don’t eat at night, he eats it,” says big brother Andre, age 8.

But now the boys are out of school.

“The hardest thing about it is in the summertime…you have to think about having food for them for breakfast, for lunch, then dinnertime,” Shemika says.

Help a child like Aiyden

Children across America are going to bed hungry. Like Aiyden, the summer months are the hardest months — the hungry months — for millions of boys and girls. These children miss out on the free lunches and breakfasts at school.

Your gift today can provide a box of food and a box of essentials for a family in need here in our country. It’s just $38 for both boxes!

Please help today. Give a child like Aiyden a reason to smile.

Ah'Darian

Hope Arrives in a Semi Truck

At Feed the Children, we believe we can create a world in which no child goes to bed hungry. It takes all of us working together: Feed the Children staff, local community organizations, volunteers, donors, state and federal governments, corporate partners… and truck drivers.

Drivers 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.

It’s the American driver on our nation’s highways and backroads who sees better than anyone that behind every hill, and around every turn, families can be found who are still struggling with poverty and hunger.

That’s why the drivers of FTC Transportation, banner carriers of Feed the Children, proudly deliver the food and supplies that struggling American families so desperately need.

A problem as complex as hunger needs complex solutions. Feed the Children is committed to finding these solutions, with everyone at the table. But we also believe in meeting immediate needs—for food, for supplies, and for hope. Our fleet of drivers helps make this happen.

We invite you to check out our new video that heralds these unsung heroes! Share it with a friend.

 

“Do You Believe?” Feed the Children Chosen as Ministry Partner for New Film

True belief always requires action.

This is one of the central messages of the upcoming feature film DO YOU BELIEVE? opening around the country March 20. The cast includes Mira Sorvino, Sean Astin, Cybill Shepherd and Ted McGinley and is a project of Pure Flix Entertainment, the creators of last year’s God’s Not Dead. The new film tells the story of twelve strangers and the ways their lives intersect with one another to create positive change in their lives and communities.

We’re excited that Feed the Children has been selected as a charity partner for the film. Kevin Hagan, CEO of Feed the Children, says, “DO YOU BELIEVE? is a must-see film! It’s filled with so many truths of the power of love and the importance of not giving up on those who seem too far gone to help or save. At Feed the Children, we are in the business of not giving up—no matter how daunting the problem of child hunger is. We see on a day-to-day basis how one person, with God’s help, can forever alter the future and lives of people.”

Putting one’s beliefs into action isn’t just the message of DO YOU BELIEVE?—it’s a guiding principle behind Feed the Children’s work. We believe that kids thrive when they have access to food, clean water, a quality education and the chance for a better future. We put that belief into action through the work we do every day. But we don’t do this work alone—we partner with individuals and organizations around the country and world.

Give a goat
A gift from the Feed the Children gift catalog makes a difference!

Like the couple who is signing up to sponsor a child because they believe in using their resources to make a difference in the life of a young person halfway around the world. Or the mother buying Easter gifts for her family who decides to shop from our gift catalog, because she’s committed to creating lasting change for a community in need.

Like parents and community members in Haiti meeting together in care groups because they believe community collaboration is the best way to overcome poverty.

Or the members of Faithbridge Church in Osage Beach, MO and friends from their community who spent a recent Saturday unloading a truck full of food and supplies for a local food pantry, because they believe in loving their neighbors through concrete action.

True belief always requires action.

Matt Panos, chief development officer of Feed the Children, says, “DO YOU BELIEVE? is a ‘celebration of grace’ and an important reminder for how we should love and care for our neighbors. It’s a real-life depiction of how believers and non-believers interact in everyday life with the subtle thread of Biblical teaching for how we, as Christians, should act toward each other and toward a world that is watching us.”

Join us at the movies… and in partnership as we put belief into action, so kids can be kids.

Hunger Headlines- Week of September 25

See what is going on in the world of hunger this week. Check out these headlines:

Thought Leadership

Leadership Lesson: What Questions Are You Asking?

Feed the Children President and CEO Kevin Hagan writes this week about what forward-thinking organizations are all about: being curious. Though it might feel easier to assume or project to others that we have all the answers, Kevin says that we must be willing to ask great questions. Read more about some of the questions Feed the Children is asking itself, right on Kevin’s blog.

Poverty News

The U.S. is losing a generation to poverty

This week, when the United States Census Bureau released its poverty data for the year 2013, it showed the first significant decline in poverty since the Great Recession hit: down from 15 percent to 14.5. Greeted more cheerily by economic observers was the news that child poverty had made its biggest drop in years: down almost 2 whole percentage points. It was better news than observers expected. It’s all relative, though, and enthusiasm was qualified. These numbers are still higher than they were before the recession. Read the rest of the article at The Daily Beast.

Hunger News in the U.S.

Who can afford to eat healthy food in the United States?

We all know that good food for kids comes in the form of fruits and vegetables. But what if families don’t have access to these kinds of food? What if families who do have access to these kinds of foods can’t afford to buy them? A new study examines what it takes to eat well in the United States. Read more about this study on Business Cheat Sheet

Hunger News around the World

World hunger easing but 1 in 9 people undernourished: food agencies

Who is hungry in the world? The number of hungry people in the world has fallen sharply over the past decade but 805 million, or 1 in 9 of the global population, still do not have enough to eat, three U.N. food and agriculture agencies said recently. The number of chronically undernourished people dropped by more than 100 million, equivalent to a country the size of the Philippines, according to a report by the United Nations food agency (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World Food Programme (WFP). Read more of this article on Reuters.

Brazil Removed from UN World hunger map

Do you know what countries are on the UN hunger map? You can download it here

The Brazilian government Tuesday hailed a new United Nations report that for the first time removed Latin America’s biggest country from the World Hunger Map. “Leaving the Hunger Map is a historic milestone for Brazil. We are very proud because overcoming hunger was a priority for the Brazilian state,” Social Development Minister Tereza Campello said in a statement. Read this article on ABC News.

Poverty Is Not Patriotic: The State of Our Union

If you live in the United States, you’re reading this on our biggest patriotic holiday — Independence Day. We celebrate on July 4 with fireworks, cookouts, flags and bunting, apple pies, and parades.

We enjoy celebrating our national holidays, but we also find them to be good days to take an honest look at how we’re doing as a nation. The USA is a wonderful place to call home. But as the following infographic shows, we still have some work to do to ensure liberty and justice for all.

4th-of-July-Infographic

Americans clearly still need some help. Wanna be patriotic today?  Join our Feed America’s Children campaign.

But the news isn’t all bad. Follow the blog so you don’t miss future posts sharing the good news in the fight against hunger!

Sources:

http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/supplement/2013/3e.html#table3.e8

http://www.census.gov/how/infographics/poverty_measure-how.html

Hunger Headlines from the Past Week

The Current System is Broken: Bringing Hunger Relief Home for the Summer

During the school year, 21 million American children qualify for free or low-cost school meals from school lunch programs. But when school ends, so do these reliable meals. Kids right here in the United States are going hungry this summer, wondering where their next meal will come from (we call this “food insecurity”). How can they enjoy a summer of just being kids when their stomachs are growling? That’s just it – they can’t.

Read Kevin Hagan’s entire article on The Huffington Post

 

Two Years In: Meet the New Feed the Children

Our new brand reflects our renewed commitment to do more together so that more kids can just be kids and no child ever goes to bed hungry. It’s a promise we make to the world and to ourselves about how we will carry out our mission. Our mission stays the same: to ensure that no child goes to bed hungry. Our brand is how we go about doing that.

The theme of all our messages—and theme of all our work—is to help kids be kids.

Read the rest on Kevin Hagan’s blog

 

Poll: Fewer Americans Blame Poverty on the Poor

As millions of Americans continue to struggle in a sluggish economy, a growing portion of the country says that poverty is caused by circumstances beyond individual control, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. The poll shows a significant shift in American opinion on the causes of poverty since the last time the question was asked, nearly 20 years ago.

View the results and infographic on NBCNews.com

 

Young People Are Much More At Risk To Be Poor Now

The OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) is out with a new report on rising income inequality. The key finding that stands out, is that the risk of poverty has shifted from the elderly, those over the age of 65, to young adults, those between the ages of 18 and 25.

Read more on Business Insider

 

World Refugee Day: Shameful That Tens of Thousands of Children in South Sudan Could Die From Lack of Food

Almost a million people have been forced to leave their homes in South Sudan following months of violent conflict. Over one million are displaced and dispersed in hard to reach areas in the country, and over 350,000 more have fled South Sudan for refuge in neighbouring nations. These statistics, like many others you will no doubt read today on World Refugee Day are shocking in their scale. Unless we act now, these numbers will be about death rather than displacement – because famine is looming.

Find out where the glimmers of hope are for Sudanese kids

 

What do you recommend from last week’s hunger headlines?

4 Reasons Why I Am Excited To Be Working With Feed the Children

At Feed the Children, we are so thankful for the gifts of our loyal staff that has served with us for so many years and countless others who recently have decided to join us. They have heard about our passion for our mission and plans for even more innovative programing around the world and wanted to support us! We recently asked one of our new staff, Lindsey to share with why she’s excited about joining the Feed the Children team.

***

In November, I joined Feed the Children as a part of the newly-created Artist Program based out of Nashville, Tennessee. In Nashville, I work alongside two other staff, Crystal Hutchinson and our vice president of Child Sponsorship and Media, Ben Greene. Here are 4 reasons why I am excited about my new position and Feed the Children.

1.     The opportunity to connect two worlds that I love.  I have spent the majority of my professional career in the retail book and publishing industries. During that time, I found great friends and mentors who get to use their words to influence people. I go to a lot of conferences. I read a lot of books. I hang out with a lot of bloggers. And so one of my favorite things about my job is that I get to partner with authors, speakers, and bloggers, and enlist them in the incredible work that Feed the Children is doing.

A kind big brother carries his little sister up the hill on his back.
Piggy-back ride up the hill courtesy of big brother

2.     The opportunity to be a part of organization that feeds over 350 thousand children around the world every day. One of the distinctives that I love about Feed the Children is that while we work on long-term sustainable development solutions, we begin by building relationships and fulfilling a critical and immediate need – feeding children. On a recent trip to Guatemala with Feed the Children, I got to visit two different feeding centers where we partner with mothers to provide nutritious meals for children in the community so that their brains and their bodies can develop properly.

3.     The opportunity to help those in need, not just across the world, but down the street. For the past several years, I have been a strong advocate for global development and orphan care.  During that time, I was able to travel and learn a lot about the complexities of poverty in Africa, in Asia and in Latin America. But truth be known, I have a lot to learn about poverty in my city, in my state, and across the United States. I have read the statistics. I know families that are struggling to make ends meet. I look forward to better understanding the complexities of poverty within the United States. 

4.     The opportunity to be a part of a “new day” at Feed the Children.  Change is afoot at Feed the Children. Kevin Hagan, our President and CEOrecently announced 4 new initiatives that are underway. The first is to revamp domestic programs to build self-sufficiency {two of my very favorite words}. The second is to renew emphasis on child sponsorship {this is a huge part of what the Artist Program team that I work on is responsible for}. The third is to launch a new Feed the Children brand {it’s coming this summer, and I cannot wait}. And the fourth is to focus on customer service. It is such a tremendous privilege to be a part of the organization during such a pivotal time.