Many people know about Feed the Children’s focus on childhood hunger, but you might be surprised to learn that food items are just part of what we provide to families across the country.
At Feed the Children community distribution events, we distribute essentials boxes with personal care and hygiene items to each family in attendance, containing items such as detergent, toothpaste, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, soap, wipes, sunscreen and other items that many of us take for granted. Our nationwide reach – thanks to our five distribution centers strategically placed across the country – also allows us to supply these products in bulk to our network of community partners, so children and their families have access to these critical items they need.
We feel that it is important to supply these basic necessities to families who are struggling to provide for their families. Many of these items are not covered by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Every dollar they save from not purchasing these items, is a dollar they could spend to maintain shelter, electricity, transportation and other needs for themselves and their children. A mother who received toothpaste and shampoo – among other items – in her box commented that she had never received these types of items. She said it was something that she had never asked for, but it was a blessing for her and her children.
Research has shown that not only does the inability to afford these household basics place an emotional strain on parents, but some even question how to promote healthy habits with their children when they don’t have basic household essentials. I’ve seen this first-hand as mother’s discover the contents of their boxes. One mom – while delivering a hug – thanked us for the items because it would allow her to go to work and her children go to school and not “smell poor anymore.”
During the past year, the importance of our work has come to light as many families faced unexpected, unprecedented challenges. At the same time, it has allowed us to develop an even deeper understanding of community and what can be accomplished when we all work together.
We are thankful for our longtime partners including L’Oréal USA, The Avon Company and Church and Dwight among others who help make these efforts possible. By working together, we are able to provide these necessities to vulnerable children and their families.
Now, more than ever, it’s important for the nonprofit sector, corporations and community organizations to come together to do good for those who need us. We know that when we combine our efforts, we will have a greater impact.
At Feed the Children, we work every day to make a difference in the lives of children and their families. And, thanks to our partners, we can continue providing help, dignity and resources.
Travis Arnold serves as president and CEO of Feed the Children.