Produce for Kids has provided more than 12 million meals to families in need through Feeding America during the years and now the organization is looking to rally the produce industry and beyond to support Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund through its new Stock the Food Pantries fundraising initiative. On April 1, Feeding America announced an estimated $1.4 billion in additional resources will be needed during the next six months to provide enough food for people facing hunger – a 30 percent increase to the baseline operating cost of its 200-member food banks nationwide.
As a Guiding Partner of Feeding America, Produce for Kids’ Stock the Food Pantries will serve as a source to funnel monetary donations direct to the COVID-19 Response Fund. The fund will ensure the most affected areas in the US will receive funding as it is received. Feeding America is working with government leaders to ensure the emergency response includes strong supports in food, funds and flexibility for federal nutrition programs.
“Produce for Kids was founded on the idea of giving back and at this time we knew we needed to rally our industry as a way to funnel available funding to people in need. Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund is offering a direct line for us to do that,” said Trish James, vice president of Produce for Kids. “We are working hard to develop relevant content daily and plan to promote the Stock the Food Pantries website regularly so families and the industry can easily access information and content they need and make direct donations.”
As donations are made direct through Stock the Food Pantries, donor logos will be highlighted on the Stock the Food Pantries website and included in all social media messaging around the initiative in an effort to cohesively spotlight the impact of the produce industry. 100 percent of all donations will go directly to the COVID-19 Response Fund. Visitors to the Stock the Food Pantries website will also find links out to resources from the Feeding America network as well as content around helping families cope with these trying times through healthy family kitchen and home activities, Healthy Family Project podcast episodes, Food Rx videos and content from contributing Produce for Kids psychologist, Dr. Stephanie Smith and registered dietitian, Sally Kuzemchak.
In addition to consumer resources, Produce for Kids will also be adding resources for produce companies looking for assistance in getting food to food banks and other ways they can help outside of a monetary donation. School closures, rising unemployment and rising poverty due to quarantine and stay-at-home orders will disproportionately impact people already facing hunger and could result in an estimated additional 17.1 million people experiencing food insecurity, an increase of 46 percent, based on projections using Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap data.
“Our first priority is the millions of individuals, families and seniors who rely on food banks for help,” said Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot. “Our member food banks are always there to help throughout the year and in times of disaster. This fund will advance their ability to respond efficiently and media contact Amanda Keefer Produce for Kids 407.697.1779 Amanda@produceforkids.com effectively in their communities so that food is not added to the list of worries for families during this pandemic.” Babineaux-Fontenot added, “We cannot do it alone.”
$1 helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks.