News Roundup, March 14, 2016

Feed the Children Expands Partnership Reach

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

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

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

Image from left to right:

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

Books for Kids

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

To read more about the program, click here.

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Anti-Hunger Policy Conference

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

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

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

Africa Day for School Feeding

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

Read more about the program here.

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

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

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

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

Backpacks and Hope in Arizona

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

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

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.

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.

H.E.L.P. Comes to West Virginia

August is a month in which we focus on back-to-school readiness–making sure kids have what the need to learn, grow and have success in school. Education is one of the four pillars of Feed the Children’s work, and we know kids can’t learn well if they don’t have their basic needs met. That’s why we take a multi-layered approach, providing not just food, but also school supplies and other essentials. We work closely with local organizations to make sure folks are part of a long-term effort to help them get on their feet and out of poverty for good.

Today we share a little more about our Homeless Education and Literacy Program, which provides backpacks and other vital supplies for children who are homeless. Read more about H.E.L.P. at this link.

Homelessness doesn’t just affect the big cities—it’s a problem that plagues small-town America as well. We partnered recently with a school district in West Virginia that has some 156 homeless children in 9 schools.

7-2015 CDR 3063 New HELP Backpack Photos -29-We provided a backpack and supplies for each of these young people, and staff at the schools let us know what a difference they made. On a survey evaluating the program, staff reported increases in attendance and self-esteem, and said the backpack program helped improve communication between school staff and the families.

The staff passed along their profound gratitude for the gifts H.E.L.P. provided: “The items provided in the backpacks are things that families on this level of income would never dream of being able to provide. Without your help in distributing these supplies, these children would simply go without.

Another staff member reported this: “One child couldn’t believe that she was going to have a backpack of her very own. This little girl also attends my church, and she brought the backpack to church with her the following week! She and her mother told me afterward how much they appreciated the gift. She also told me she sleeps with her backpack! Something that most of us take for granted can mean so much in the life of a child.”

During the month of August we’re inviting people to join us in providing hope for those without life’s essentials. Will you sponsor a backpack full of supplies (and a few goodies) so that a child is ready for school? It just takes a few moments. Here’s how.

H.E.L.P. for the Homeless

Summer is winding down, and children across the country are getting ready for another school year. For lots of kids, that means a new outfit for the first day, fresh unsharpened pencils and a perfect box of crayons, or a new backpack emblazoned with the latest cartoon character or superhero.

But for one population, back-to-school time can be a time of anxiety and stress for the whole family: the population of children in the United States who are homeless. Each year, 1.6 million American children go to sleep without a home of their own—and sadly, that number is rising.

Succeeding in school as a homeless child is tough. Algebra, anatomy and Animal Farm can be challenging enough without the stress of living on the street, jumping from shelter to shelter, or wondering whether your parents will be able find a job or provide for your basic needs. Unfortunately, these kids are three times more likely to drop out of school than kids with homes. Such a tragedy only feeds the cycle of illiteracy, poverty, and homelessness when these kids become parents themselves.

That’s why it’s imperative that we do everything we can to keep these kids in school. Education is the key to breaking the cycle and ensuring a better life. 

In fact, we know that if children who are homeless can remain in school, they perform as well as their peers over time. These kids will prove themselves academically and socially if given the chance. And their families want to work and contribute positively to society too.

But they need help. They need H.E.L.P.: Feed the Children’s Homeless Education & Literacy Program (H.E.L.P.).

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.

7-2015 CDR 3063 New HELP Backpack Photos -36-We stuff these backpacks with some of life’s essentials as well as a bit of fun: school supplies, ready-to-eat food, hygiene items, and of course, books. We work with homeless liaisons and schools across the country who know the face of homelessness and can help us connect and respond. These local partners deliver the backpacks to the students who need them most. They make this delivery privately to help preserve the dignity of these young people.

The homeless liaisons who hand out the backpacks tell us that children treasure these gifts. In some cases, the backpack is the only thing these kids own. The backpacks aren’t just a leg up on the school year—they’re a tangible expression of hope.

Since the beginning of H.E.L.P. almost ten years ago, we’ve distributed more than 700,000 H.E.L.P. backpacks. In 2013 alone, Feed the Children provided 65,000 backpacks to kids without homes.

Can we deliver even more in 2015? You can help by sponsoring one or more backpacks from our catalog. Click here–it’s fast and easy.