For many families across America and around the world, 2020 has been the hungriest year in modern history. There will be more empty plates this holiday season than ever before due to the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. We know that when it’s a struggle to put food on the table; children lose out on the opportunity to have a joyful holiday season.

The pandemic has brought the importance of our work to light as many families face unexpected challenges and are forced to make choices about basic needs that most of us could never imagine.

Our No Hunger Holidays campaign aims to make a difference in these children’s lives. Each holiday season, we at Feed the Children deliver food and resources as well as hope and joy to struggling families. This holiday season, we are committed to providing more than 1.2 million meals to families who are just trying to make ends meet.

We believe no child should have to go to bed hungry — especially during the holidays.

Coming Together to Fight Food Insecurity

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way our world works. Due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, it is estimated 1 in 4 children may go hungry this holiday season. The loss of jobs and income has affected not only the most vulnerable, but also millions of others across the country who have never had to worry about their livelihood.

At Feed the Children, we have been very fortunate that both our corporate and community partners have been able to increase their efforts to help meet the needs of at-risk families during these historic times. In fact, companies, individual donors, and community partners are coming together to help ensure vulnerable families and communities don’t go hungry. Our corporate partners are essential – through our joint efforts, we are able to provide food and essentials to those who need them most.

Through their Nutrition for Zero Hunger initiative, Herbalife Nutrition has supported our pandemic response efforts which allows us to continue our critical work. We know it takes all of us working together to defeat childhood hunger.

Since March, we’ve distributed more than 35 million pounds of food and essentials to more than 600 community partners. During recent months, when traditional delivery methods were not available, our partners worked to develop new and innovative ways of getting food and essentials into the hands of families that need it most.

Impact in Communities: Shadow Mountain Church

With businesses closing their doors and employees being furloughed or laid off, families who have never before faced food insecurity are unsure where to turn for support. But across the nation, communities are stepping up to help those who need the most help.

Shadow Mountain Church in San Diego hosted four community relief events for those affected by COVID-19. In order to comply with social distancing regulations, the events were held as a drive-through distribution.

Families pulled their cars to the front of the church, and volunteers wearing masks and gloves loaded their trunks with boxes of food and essentials provided by Feed the Children.

With these events, Shadow Mountain Church and Feed the Children distributed 146,157 pounds of food and essentials that served 4,000 families.

Impact in New York: Supporting Buffalo

The Buffalo Dream Center has been a community partner with Feed the Children since 2009. The center serves children, families, and homeless individuals in Buffalo, New York.

Feed the Children supported them with food distributions while maintaining social distancing guidelines. We delivered 34,000 pounds of food and essentials that were then bagged for distribution by volunteers.

Through home deliveries and mobile food-truck sites, 700 families received much-needed food, personal care products, and support. In addition, the Buffalo Dream Center was able to serve hot meals to the homeless and provide each person with a snack bag for later. The Buffalo Dream Center also operates a tutoring program. Right now, the center is tutoring 15 children who receive help with their homework as well as bags of food to take home to their families.

Impact in Kenya: Education and Handwashing

The Feed the Children team in Kenya has been working to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our staff is staying in touch with volunteers and community leaders through WhatsApp and text messaging.

They provide education and support while encouraging appropriate social distancing. Feed the Children is continuing to teach the importance of proper mask usage and regular handwashing to help slow the spread of the virus. Our team virtually trained 162 health volunteers and 216 lead mothers in COVID-19 prevention. These community members can now go into the field to share the education they’ve received.

Feed the Children has also distributed handwashing stations to nine health facilities. These stations ensure that all patients who visit are able to wash their hands before and after receiving medical treatment.

These measures help to protect the communities we serve and pave the way for a safe return to work and school in the future.

Impact on Education: Western Heights Public Schools

In these difficult times, schools have been closed across the nation. Parents and children have had to adjust to a “new normal” of distance learning and quarantine. For families whose children previously relied on school breakfasts and lunches, the financial strain is real.

Feed the Children partnered with Western Heights Public Schools in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to help families bridge the gap. We provided over 8,000 pounds of food to this single school district. Volunteers stepped up to pack bags for distribution and bus drivers traveled regular routes to hand out bags of food to the children they used to take to school every day.

These families’ needs are so great that, when Western Heights hosted a drive-up food distribution event at the school, they handed out 300 food boxes in 36 minutes.

One mother wanted to give special thanks for the support she and her two children received from Western Heights. “This food drive is helping all the little ones get the nutrition that they need throughout the day,” she said, “and I’m very grateful for it.”

We hope that these stories serve as a reminder of the power of coming together to reach our Zero Hunger goal. When we take the pledge to support this mission, there’s no limit to the positive impact we can make in the lives of so many.

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