– Concerted Efforts and Continued Response to COVID-19 Crisis Advance the Long-Term Fight Against Food Insecurity –
New York (April 1, 2021) — WhyHunger—a leader in the movement to end hunger and advance the human right to nutritious food in the U.S. and around the world—today released its 2020 Impact Report, summarizing the organization’s actions and initiatives to strike at the root causes of hunger. Throughout 2020, the 46-year-old organization, co-founded by late musician and activist Harry Chapin, focused its efforts on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening grassroots movements, protecting the human right to food, and transforming the emergency food system.
“In terms of hunger and food insecurity rates, 2020 was like nothing we’ve seen before. The year further shed light on the urgent need to transform our collective response to hunger and its root causes, and the devastating impacts it had on food insecure individuals worldwide. Hunger is a solvable problem, and access to healthy and nutritious food is a basic human right, not a privilege. Our mission and work at WhyHunger center around the business of making hunger obsolete on both the national and global scale, by addressing the underlying injustice and systemic racism at the root,” said Noreen Springstead, executive director, WhyHunger.
WhyHunger acts as a critical player in the movement to end hunger, investing in vital work around the world, weaving together isolated solutions and supporting the leadership of social movements. In 2020, WhyHunger achieved:
- Pandemic Relief: Mobilized $845,223 in emergency funding to 42 partner organizations and social movements in eight countries as part of its Rapid Response Fund for the distribution of nutritious food, critical resources and support for food banks and pantries struggling to meet rising demand in the United States. WhyHunger prioritized transformative solutions to hunger led by Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and other deeply impacted communities.
- Support for Local Food Systems: Invested $689,808 in 50 grants to social movement organizations in 25 countries led by rural peasant, fishing, youth and Indigenous communities to build food sovereignty, engage more people through political education and organizing, and meet the challenges presented by COVID-19 and climate change.
- Food Finder Resources: The national WhyHunger Hotline at 1-800-5-HUNGRY and Find Food Database helped connect over 1 million food insecure individuals – including veterans, seniors and families – to healthy and nutritious free meal sites in their community. WhyHunger launched the first ever crowdsourced and open sourced interactive map for people to find free meal sites across the U.S., (including pop-up sites, food banks, and food pantries). The comprehensive map and real-time data get integrated into the Waze app.
- Black Food Sovereignty: Raised over $608,653 in direct funding to help 14 organizations and community leaders across the U.S. to bolster initiatives around childhood nutrition, community organizing and narrative change strategies focused on Black food sovereignty.
- Agroecology: Provided support for four global social movements, representing over 200 million farmers, Indigenous people, peasants, and fisherfolk working to produce nutritious food in harmony with the earth, help mitigate climate change and strengthen communities.
- The Right to Food: WhyHunger and the Human Rights Clinic of the University of Miami School of Law stewarded the first-ever submission to the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review concerning the state of the right to food in the United States. The landmark report reframes hunger in the U.S. as a human rights issue and serves as a tool for organizers across the country working to establish nutritious food as a human right.
- Collective Action Globally: Partnered with 30+ international NGOs, grassroots activists, and scholars from across the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom to launch the Global Solidarity Alliance for Food, Health and Social Justice, to build collective strategies and alternative models to promote more effective solutions that ensure the right to nutritious food around the world.
- Unique Partnerships: Worked with partners and celebrity ambassadors, driving awareness for hunger and its root causes and growing individual donations. Corporate partnerships including Hard Rock International, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, vitafusion Gummy Vitamins, and more raised over $632,000 in the fight against hunger. Initiatives also included partnerships with CBS’ PLAY ON Special, Valentino, Albertsons Companies Foundation, Sony Music Entertainment, USA for Africa, Bonsai, SongAid and the annual Hungerthon holiday awareness campaign and fundraising drive. In addition, WhyHunger’s foundation partners invested over $2.36 million to support critical work in fighting hunger.
“We are proud of all we have accomplished to raise awareness and provide critical resources for those most impacted by food insecurity and those on frontlines who are working to solve it. Our efforts lay the foundation for the year ahead as we work to combat the hunger epidemic in the wake of COVID-19 and beyond,” added Noreen Springstead.