No Kid Hungry COVER Share Our Strength Texas – Hitchcock Independent School District
In America today, 1 in 7 kids faces hunger. According to the USDA, 11 million children live in ‘food-insecure’ homes, meaning they do not have stable and secure access to food regularly. No Kid Hungry is a national campaign working to change those numbers and get children the food they need. No Kid Hungry is run by Share Our Strength. This non-profit organization strives to solve hunger and poverty around the world. Founded in 1984 by Billy Shore, Share Our Strength has been actively working to invest in non-profits and find the best approaches to eradicating poverty and hunger. In 2010, they launched No Kid Hungry. Since then, No Kid Hungry has been actively striving to end childhood hunger by ensuring that children have access to nutritious and beneficial food, like healthy breakfasts at school. Across the United States, No Kid Hungry looks at the programs in place for underprivileged children and seeks to improve them. Over the summer, No Kid Hungry collaborates with summer programs to refurbish school buses and provide children with free meals during the months they’re away from school. No Kid Hungry also works with schools and educators to provide meals to children in after-school programs, many of which may not have another meal until the next day’s school breakfast. As well, No Kid Hungry works with elected officials and government agencies to strengthen and improve the programs that children rely on. Not only do they ensure that the programs children rely on stay in place, but they are providing families and supporters with a chance to chime in on important issues. No Kid Hungry knows that there is more than enough food available to feed America’s hungry children (and families!). Even better, they know the steps that must be taken to provide families and children with nutritious food and services they can trust. So many families rely on No Kid Hungry, not only for helping them care for their children but for teaching them valuable skills related to food education. Through their family education nutrition program, Cooking Matters, parents, and caregivers can learn useful skills regarding how to shop for and cook healthy and affordable meals. As schools shut down due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, many children are left without access to regular meals. Moreover, families that have been forced into furlough are put into a situation where they may not be able to care for their families healthily and sustainably. As businesses grapple with closing their doors, and families stretch their budgets to ensure their children are fed, the support of non-profits like No Kid Hungry mean more than ever. Since the start of the coronavirus shutdowns, thousands of Americans have stepped up to donate funds and raise awareness on behalf of the many families and children who rely on school programs for food. Nearly 22 million children across the country rely on the meals they receive at school. For many, these meals are the only nutritious food they receive regularly. “Over the past week, people from all walks of life have risen to the unprecedented challenge of feeding hungry kids during a global pandemic,” said Billy Shore in a press release regarding No Kid Hungry’s response to COVID-19. “I’ve heard stories of heart-breaking need and immense creativity, but above all persistence – a sense that we won’t let any barrier stand between a child and the healthy meals they need.” Thanks to the generosity of people across the country and around the world, No Kid Hungry has been able to provide millions of dollars in emergency grant funding to schools and community groups that are feeding children during the coronavirus pandemic. These programs plan to serve 1.7 million healthy meals per day for the duration of the crisis, and more plans are being put into place to further ensure the safety and nutrition of low-income children. “We want to do everything possible to ensure public safety and the well-being of kids. Federal nutrition programs like SNAP, school and out of school meals and WIC are the front line of defense,” No Kid Hungry said in their coronavirus statement. Celebrities are offering their support as well. Award-winning actress and goodwill ambassador Angelina Jolie donated $1M to relief efforts focused on feeding low-income families. She shared her support in a statement saying, “As of this week, over a billion children are out of school worldwide because of closures linked to coronavirus. Many children depend on the care and nutrition they receive during school hours, including nearly 22 million children in America who rely on food support. No Kid Hungry is making brave efforts to reach as many of those children as possible.” Times like these are when communities must band together and protect our most vulnerable fellow human beings. Not only are we all in this together, but we are also so much stronger together. For more information on No Kid Hungry’s programs and relief efforts, as well as how you can get involved, click here.
—By Raye Mocioiu