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.

A Well in Malawi: In Celebration of #WorldWaterDay

“Water is life. Children are the leaders of tomorrow. Thank you Feed the Children for investing in our future generation.” -Josophat

Around the world, more than 780 million people lack ready access to clean, safe water. For some, this means traveling many miles for hours each day to fetch water from a remote well. For the people in one village in Malawi, it meant encountering contaminated water once they got there.

While the village had a deep, machine-dug well not far from the community, for more than ten years this well had no cover. People would throw items into the well. Dirt and sand would blow in. People were getting sick.

“My children were greatly affected with the unclean water,” said Irene, mother of two young children. “I would spend weeks in hospital with my first born son because of diarrhea. It was a sorry situation.” At times the women would resort to drawing water from hand-dug wells, but the effects were worse.

The women of the village also came to see the well as a hazard in their midst. It was harrowing just to stand beside it and peer down into it. Children could easily fall in.

For years the people of the village tried makeshift remedies for the exposed well—wood planks, sheets of iron—but they were no match for the fierce wind and elements.

Things are different today.

Last June, Feed the Children helped install a well cover to enable community access to clean and safe water. It was a true partnership—the community provided bricks, a contractor offered expertise, and Feed the Children furnished materials and coordination. Malawi’s Ministry of Water was also involved, offering technical support.

Today the community is enjoying unlimited access to clean and safe water. More than a hundred families fetch water from this well. The well is located close to the Community Based Child Care Centre (CBCC) which hosts 61 children who are also accessing water from the same well. Hospital visits have decreased. Children can learn, grow and be kids.

Parents now have greater peace of mind and the time to focus on other initiatives to improve the community. These programs include Village Savings and Loan groups, helping improve community members’ financial status. A care group program promotes behavior changes at the household level in hygiene and sanitation, nutrition and breastfeeding.

Eunice Maxwell draws water from an unsafe well
Eunice draws water from an unsafe well

“My life has greatly improved, thanks to Feed the Children,” said Eunice, a mother of four. “Because of Feed the Children, my family drinks clean and safe water, and going to fetch water is not a burden for me anymore. I have enough time to do my house chores and also rest. Before, I used to spend long hours at the well just to fetch water.”

This Sunday is World Water Day, and we’re inviting you to celebrate the this community’s success and make that same change possible in other places around the world. Our gift catalog makes it easy to donate.

For the cost of a bottle of water a day, you can provide a water filter kit for a entire family. Does your office have a water cooler? For the same price, you and your co-workers can come together and provide a hand-washing station for a community to help prevent disease. Give today.