Kids need access to 3 meals a day. All images courtesy of No Kid Hungry
How You Are Helping to Support Kids in Need
Together with No Kid Hungry, our hand sanitizer is helping to provide meals to make sure families can access the food they need during the pandemic and after.
As schools open around the country, they’re looking very different from previous years: empty or desk-distanced classrooms, no boisterous schoolyards, and lunch eaten at desks—or not at all. Many of us at Chantecaille are parents negotiating this stressful period with our kids, so when it came to choosing a nonprofit cause to support with our Rose Geranium Basil Hand Sanitizer, we turned to one of the country’s hardest-hit populations: children who rely on school meals for food.
“Thinking about kids in need while I was at home in quarantine with my own daughter, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to go without food, especially during such an uncertain and serious time,” says Olivia Chantecaille, whose daughter, Delphina, who will soon start first grade. Chantecaille is a company founded by mothers, and we are so happy to be able to make an impact in the lives of families in need with this launch.”
Prior to the pandemic, around one in seven kids lived with hunger. New estimates show that one in four kids could face hunger this year. By teaming up with No Kid Hungry, we’ll help provide up to 160,000* meals to make sure kids and families have access to the food they need during Covid-19 its aftermath. No Kid Hungry is a national campaign focused on working to end childhood hunger across all 50 states with programs that give all kids the healthy food they need to thrive. We chatted with Jenny Bargary, an associate director on No Kid Hungry’s corporate partnerships team, to better understand their work and impact.
*$1 can provide up to 10 meals. Meal equivalency varies during COVID-19 relief.
Local partners of No Kid Hungry help feed kids and families with healthy fresh food
How does No Kid Hungry reach children who don’t have enough food?
One of the things we know about hunger in the U.S. is that it's not that there isn't enough food. In most cases it's an access and awareness issue. So we don’t have a one size fits all approach—it's really about building sustainable programs so that kids have access to food. Prior to the pandemic, our key focus was around improving school meal programs. If you think about your traditional school experience and the lunch in the cafeteria that everyone receives, we really focused on improving programs like school breakfast, afterschool meals and summer meals to ensure that kids have access to three meals a day. That could be serving breakfast in the classroom or raising awareness about free summer meals in a community to fill the gap by offering meals all summer, which is actually a pretty hungry time for kids who rely on school meals.
"A lot of times what hunger looks like in urban and suburban and rural areas is very different."
How has Covid-19 changed things?
Following the pandemic, we know that there's a broader scope of needs—and school looks a little different now. So our most immediate action has been around providing emergency grants to schools and organizations that are helping to serve meals. Since mid-March, we have provided $27 million to organizations in all 50 States, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. And those organizations are planning to serve an estimated 10 million meals every single day—which is impressive, but also really speaks to the need of communities right now.
What are some new ways that meals are being distributed?
A lot of times what hunger looks like in urban and suburban and rural areas is very different, so the way that they're using those funds really varies. And schools are really being innovative and really thinking through what that looks like. It can be anything from equipment—like, if they're doing grab and go meals, it could be for tables and staffing that they may not have budgeted for. We’ve seen some schools do what I call a reverse bus route, where instead of picking up kids, they're dropping off meals with families…. A lot of times now they're packaging more than one meal at a time. So it might be three meals that you can pick out at a time per child versus just one, which was sort of the standard.
Meals distribution in Michigan
What are some other initiatives No Kid Hungry runs for families to address food scarcity?
In March, we launched our free meals finder. Essentially, it's an online map that highlights where you can find free meals across the country, along with general support, so the families have a one-stop shop to find that information. We also support a texting line. Previously that had been something that we really focused on in the summer, where you could type FOOD or COMIDA to 87787 with your zip code and it would spit back to the local summer meals sites, but we started using it earlier this year. We know the need is going to continue, so this will be supporting the free meals site, which you can find at nokidhungry.org/help. And then the texting service will extend well into the fall—almost 200,000 families have visited the free meals site since we launched it, so it’s certainly valuable information. And we’re also pushing for policies at the national and local levels that will help feed more kids.
Is there anything else our community can do to help support the cause?
I mean, we're lucky to have partners like you all, and purchasing this hand sanitizer helps. You can always go to nokidhungry.org to learn more and to donate. Following us on social media and sharing some of those messages are a really quick and easy way to do that. If you’re thinking about support, we know that $1 can help provide up to 10 meals, so you don't have to give a lot to make a really big impact.
Fortunately it seems like this issue is getting some needed attention right now.
Yeah, as we say, feeding kids should not be political.
With millions of families out of work and struggling to afford food for their children, No Kid Hungry will continue to make sure families have access to the food they need.
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