The summer months should be a carefree time for children to play with friends and enjoy their childhood. However, this past year, the economic effects of COVID-19 brought a new level of awareness to issues of hunger and food insecurity in the U.S. as more families than ever found themselves struggling to put food on the table. As the economy begins to recover, Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, is kicking off it’s summer hunger campaign with a reminder that we can’t let hunger become normal again.
Though an end to the pandemic may be in sight, we cannot forget that there are simply too many families still suffering and too many children wondering where their next meal will come from. In fact, a Pulse survey conducted April 14-26 discovered that between 5 and 8 million children across the U.S. live in a household where they didn’t eat enough because their parents couldn’t afford sufficient food.
Recent government interventions like the American Rescue Plan Act’s extension of school meals programs and other support have been meaningful, but they can only go so far. For many families, a significant gap exists between what they can pay for and their food needs—to say nothing of nutritional needs. Nearly 30 million children rely on free or reduced lunches, and not all of them can take advantage of feeding programs that have been set up by schools in the wake of COVID-19. As a result, many families must still make impossible choices between buying food and paying utility bills or other necessary costs like transportation and childcare.
Feed the Children helps bridge this gap by extending vital support to families who need assistance. By providing donated product in bulk, the organization supports a national network of community partners with food and essential items so they can distribute them directly within the communities where people need the most help. These partners include schools and churches as well as food banks and food pantries, which have remained in high demand since the outbreak of COVID-19. In addition to food, the nonprofit also provides household essentials like cleaning, hygiene and personal care items — which are not covered by SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits. This allows parents and caregivers to spend more money on food for their families.
These efforts would not be possible without the support of Feed the Children’s corporate partners. Partners are critical to the work the nonprofit does because they help to maximize their effort, turning a $1 donation into $8 worth of impact. The following partners have stood up to join the nonprofit’s summer campaign to make sure hunger doesn’t become normal. Gold level sponsors include: Price Rite Marketplace, Tyson Foods, StarKist, Teleperformance, Frito-Lay and Americold. Silver level sponsors include: Bentgo and Post Consumer Brands. Bronze level sponsors include: Smart for Life. In addition, both Bentgo and Post Consumer Brands are also matching donations. To learn more, visit feedthechildren.org/summerhunger.
Individuals and businesses can make a difference in the lives of children by supporting Feed the Children’s efforts to fight summer hunger. This will provide kids an opportunity to stay active and enjoy their summer.
Ronnie, age 11, says being hungry in the summer isn’t as rare as you might think. “It just happens,” he said. “But when you don’t have any more food at home, there’s Feed the Children who helps out.”