As of this writing, the entire world continues to endure a months-long pandemic with no clear end in sight. People of all kinds have been affected in one way or another, and children face their own unique struggles. Playtime is not the same when social distancing and quarantine keep them apart from friends. Staying home for months can be terribly unmotivating and unstimulating for energetic youngsters. Everything, from how school functions to whether they can even see their grandparents, is different.
The pandemic is having an even bigger impact on families with parents who cannot always afford to feed their children three square meals a day. With many jobs axed or furloughed, money gets tight. With schools shuttered, a vital food source for many kids is gone. These hard-hit families need all the support they can get, and many charity organizations are turning their resources towards this cause. Here is a discussion of one such group, No Kid Hungry.
What is No Kid Hungry?
No Kid Hungry is not an organization. Rather, it is the banner for a range of programs created and operated by a genuine nonprofit organization called Share Our Strength. That group tackles a variety of issues related to starvation, ranging from famine relief to improving nutrition in low-income families. This campaign narrows its focus to the issue of child hunger.
In the span of a single decade, Share Our Strength has expanded the No Kid Hungry campaign all over the United States. Their programs do more than provide food — they provide access to food, something that many families lack. They work with many different partners, including restaurants, school districts, and businesses. With that said, they could not accomplish their goals without donations from concerned and compassionate citizens.
What are Their Usual Programs?
Child hunger is a huge problem caused or exacerbated by several factors, and organizers and volunteers must tackle as many as they can. No Kid Hungry consists of several different programs that each take a different approach to the issue. The idea is that their cumulative effect will drastically reduce the number of children who miss meals or sleep on empty stomachs. Here are a few of their most notable efforts.
- Programs for Extra School Meals
Despite the familiar proverb, not many people see breakfast as the most important meal of the day. When low-income families need to save on food, meals in the morning are a common cut. No Kid Hungry sponsors school breakfast programs, with students getting food in the cafeteria or even the classroom. 11.5 million children took part in the 2018-2019 school year alone.
The last meal of the day is another that many low-income families cannot afford. In an effort to ensure that fewer kids go to bed hungry, the campaign also funds afterschool meal programs. Implementing one or both can cause major improvements in a child’s health, energy, and happiness. They can even boost class attendance and test performance.
- The Cooking Matters Campaign
A healthy and balanced diet is an ideal that everyone should strive toward, especially for kids who are still growing and developing. Unfortunately, the ideal is untenable for many families for whom saving money is a necessity for survival. Junk food is often more easily available and less pricy. No Kid Hungry does not just care about making sure that children eat. They care about the quality of the meals just as much as the quantity.
To that end, the campaign has its own campaign, called Cooking Matters. Under this program, parents and guardians can learn how to provide their kids with nutritious meals without breaking the bank. Resources include cooking classes, informative apps, and guided tours of grocery stores.
- State-Level and National Government Advocacy
The federal and state governments constantly make decisions that affect kids, including access to food and proper nutrition. However, children have little means to make their voices heard. When it comes to the problem of child hunger, adults need to step up and speak on their behalf. No Kid Hungry’s work includes advocacy on the issue at all levels of government.
Volunteers conduct research on any aspect related to youngsters and food, then compel powerful people to learn more with them. They stress the need for Congress to create new programs and strengthen familiar ones, and to provide funding for both. They make sure that child hunger stands out among the many other matters demanding the attentions of lawmakers.
What are They Doing to Help with COVID-19?
Child hunger in America has significantly dropped over the past few decades. The declining rates are at least partly thanks to the efforts of No Kid Hungry and other groups dedicated to addressing the problem. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has changed many things, including these statistics. Researchers now estimate that as much as 25% of American children will experience “child food insecurity.”
No Kid Hungry already provides grants to community groups and schools across the country. Now, they offer additional emergency grants specifically for COVID-19 response. Hundreds have already been given out to just about every state. People have used them to create delivery services for communities, as well as sites where people can safely pick up food. They even have a customized Google Map showing every town where a grant is taking effect and detailing how the funds are being used.
Moreover, child hunger advocates continue to press the federal and state governments for further assistance to families and children in need. Their pressure has already borne fruit with increased SNAP benefits and funding for more meal pick-up sites. Even with these successes, they continue to push for more.
Helping No Kid Hungry at NoLove4
Here at NoLove4, we deeply admire the goals, programs, and results of the No Kid Hungry campaign. To assist in their endeavors, we offer them as an option for which organization our customers support with their purchase. Every cent you spend on merchandise like the “no love 4 hungry kids” tee or “no love 4 COVID-19” shirt goes towards a charity of your choice. Check out our selection of products and help kids and families in need today.