Business and technology companies in the Washington region have stepped up through Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign to help address the growing number of families who need food assistance.
Donna Morea, chair of Science Applications International Corp. and a Share Our Strength board member, has teamed with Tim Hurlebaus, Dave Henderson, Todd Stottlemyer and Nazzic Keene to invite the technology community and others in the business community to the campaign to support this work.
“This community has never failed to rise to a challenge with leadership and generosity,” Morea said. “While our businesses are facing challenges and uncertainty, we are fortunate that we are able to take care of our employees, serve our customers, shelter safely at home and feed our families. This campaign is a way to give a crucial lifeline to our communities when and where they need it most.”
Share Our Strength is the national nonprofit that runs the No Kid Hungry campaign and has an annual goal of around $100 million. In the Washington, D.C., region, the Tech Steps Up for No Kid Hungry recently raised more than $500,000.
During the early weeks and months of the pandemic, the 22 million children who often depended on school meals for sustenance became more vulnerable than ever. The organization has reported that now one in four children are not getting the food they need during the pandemic.
“Before the pandemic, one in seven American kids lived with hunger…” said Lisa Davis, senior vice president of Share Our Strength. “Many families are in tremendous need, waiting in long lines for food, struggling to pay rent, pay for health care, pay utility bills and feed their kids.”
The fact that children in America are going hungry is “tragic,” Morea said, and for more than a decade, No Kid Hungry has helped lead change to ensure hungry kids are fed.
Since the campaign began under Billy Shore’s leadership, it has brought billions of meals to children in schools. As the pandemic has progressed, No Kid Hungry responded to the stay-a-home-world during the spring and summer and is now gearing up for the remainder of the year.
“The team has stepped up heroically, working 24/7 to address the new reality in so many ways,” Morea said. “Regrettably, the demand continues to grow, and we need much more support to ensure no kid is hungry.”
No Kid Hungry is implementing a four-pronged approach to combating hunger during the pandemic. The organization issues emergency grants directly to school districts, food banks and other community organizations to support children’s access to meals. In the D.C. region, the recipients include Martha’s Table, Capital Area Food Bank, DC Central Kitchen, Dar Al-Hirjrah Islamic Center and Together We Own It.
Raising public awareness is a second pathway No Kid Hungry is using. Through a texting service designed to help kids and families find the nearest locations for emergency food resources and free meals for kids, participants are texting “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 877-877 in nearly 40 states.
Third, the organization is continuing to advocate for and influence government actions addressing hunger, successfully working to ensure federal nutrition programs both in and out of schools have the flexibility and resources needed to reach children and families during these times.
Finally, the organization provides technical assistance and promotes best practices by acting as a trusted resource for information and guidance to help schools, meal providers, community leaders and families navigate the changing landscape.
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