WhyHunger and Hunger Is are proud to support breakfast programs around the U.S.
The San Diego Food Bank received a grant from Hunger Is to enhance their School Breakfast Initiative. I talked to Jim Floros their Executive Director to learn more about the food bank itself and how their School Breakfast Initiative works.
Jim is a 30-year veteran in non-profit work and has a refreshingly holistic approach to food banking. He refers to the San Diego Food Bank as a “nutrition bank” that is working to go beyond merely feeding people but providing nutritious food to all their clients, especially the children. They serve 465,000 of the poorest people including 180,000 children in San Diego and the surrounding area. They believe in the adage that if you feed a child well they will learn and grow up to earn and stay out of poverty. They understand that good food is only one of several elements necessary for a child to learn and grow; yet they are determined to provide the best food possible for the most children facing poverty and hunger.
The Food Bank has a number of programs to acquire fresh fruits and vegetables and they focus on providing healthy food for all and especially the children. Jim is also reaching out to other food banks around the country to share their model and innovative approaches to breakfast and many other programs providing good food.
With support from Hunger Is, the San Diego Food Bank was able to grow their breakfast program in several ways, increasing number of children who receive breakfast and the quality of the food. The following offers a good summary of their efforts.
Increasing Healthy Breakfast in San Diego
A healthy, nutritious breakfast makes all the difference for young children. The first meal of the day sets them up for the learning and play that follows.
The San Diego Food Bank, with support from Hunger Is, has developed a 4-Point Breakfast Initiative to further increase participation in this first meal by thousands of very low-income children in San Diego County who are all too often also chronically hungry.
Last fall, the Food Bank added 100 students from low-income families to the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program, increasing the number of children on the program who are provided with breakfast foods over the weekend.
At a cost of just $200 per child, Food 4 Kids Backpack distributes backpacks full of nutritious, child-friendly food to chronically hungry elementary school children who are receiving free meals at school during the week, but show signs of chronic hunger on Monday morning. Some of these children were returning to school on Monday not having eaten since Friday’s lunch!
The Food 4 Kids Backpack Program targets chronically hungry children in San Diego County by working in select public schools where more than 85% of the children receive government-sponsored free or reduced-price meals during the school week, but have no such provisions over weekends.
All children who receive free/reduced-price lunches through government programs are eligible to receive Food Bank backpacks.
In partnership with school principals, counselors, teachers, parents, and dedicated volunteer leaders, the Food Bank initiated our Food 4 Kids Backpack Program in 2006 by targeting 75 needy children in 2 of our poorest institutions. Over its 10-year history, the program has seen tremendous growth thanks to generous donors – foundation, corporate and individual. We are currently serving 1,730 children every week.
Chronically hungry children are identified by teachers and school staff using guidelines and warning signs for program eligibility. These children are provided new backpacks each school year. Every Friday, the backpacks are filled with food that is nutritious, nonperishable, and easily-consumed.
Breakfast items constitute a significant portion of the food provided. This year's menu of breakfast-specific food includes Toasty O's, Oat Blenders with Honey, Whole Grain Cereal Bars Strawberry, Fruit Burst Squeezers, reduced fat milk and oatmeal.
As an added benefit, the Food Bank has adopted a mandate to fight childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes. To that end, the Food Bank makes available ample supplies of fresh produce once a month at participating Backpack Program schools. Additionally, Food Bank staff offers their services at all backpack schools to assist families in the complex process of applying for and receiving CalFresh benefits (formerly known as Food Stamps).
The second feature of the Food Bank’s effort to increase the consumption of breakfast by our young clients includes the distribution of 18,000 Family Units of whole grain buttermilk pancake mix through the Food 4 Kids Backpack Program. This longtime breakfast staple will be a welcome addition to the once-a-month Family Packs students take home in addition to their regular weekly backpacks of food. The handy packet makes for easy placement in the current F4KBP backpacks. Additionally, the Food Bank plans to purchase thousands of pounds of fresh fruits to be distributed through our Summer Lunch Program. Students participating in this program typically come to a Summer Lunch Program distribution without having eaten a healthy, nutritious breakfast. The majority of them participate in the free and reduced-price meal programs at school, but these meal programs are unavailable to these students in the summer months. Students will receive a variety of easy-to-consume fruits and nutrition education information on the importance of a well-balanced diet.
Building on the successful nutrition education materials identified and distributed by the Food Bank to Food 4 Kids Backpack Program students over the last year, the Food Bank plans to take the next step in our nutrition education outreach programming. Through this program, we plan to offer cooking demo classes for kids either at backpack schools or in affiliated afterschool programs. Held three times throughout the grant year, these nutrition education interactive events will feature lessons incorporating a healthy, easy breakfast tasting and a nutrition game that incorporates physical activity. The cooking demo events will be coordinated and delivered by the Food Bank’s Nutrition and Wellness Educator, who is a Registered Dietitian, and her staff. The events will be open to all students and family members.
The Food Bank will also continue to include colorful and engaging nutrition education materials in the backpacks of Food 4 Kids Backpack Program students. These materials will highlight important features of a healthy breakfast and well-balanced diet and practical tips for adults including breakfast recipes.
The Food Bank has recently rolled out a successful Food Rescue Program across the County of San Diego.
The program has seen nearly 600,000 pounds of food secured from area grocers who donate perishable food a significant proportion of which makes its way to breakfast tables of hundreds of thousands of poor and chronically hungry children through our vast network of food distribution programs.
The Food Bank works with a variety of local charitable agencies to receive the contents of the Food Rescue Program for quick and efficient distribution to San Diegans in need.
With 370,000 low-income people in San Diego County every month turning to the Food Bank for hunger relief, the Food Rescue Program plays a significant role in meeting this need.
WhyHunger announced today that their annual Hungerthon campaign raised a record-breaking $1.1 million this year for the fight against hunger and poverty. Partnering with SiriusXM Satellite Radio, CBS Radio New York, Cumulus New York and iHeartMedia, funds were raised through a coordinated month long effort including radio broadcasts, merchandise, a live radiothon, social media activation and an extensive celebrity-driven online auction. WhyHunger staff, celebrity ambassadors and community-based partners also educated listeners and raised awareness about the important issues of hunger and poverty by participating in over 30 substantive radio interviews.
“This record-breaking Hungerthon is an incredible testament to the 31-year history of this important campaign and will fuel the work of WhyHunger and our community-based partners across the U.S. towards ending hunger and building social justice,” said WhyHunger’s executive director Noreen Springstead. “Our community of supporters, radio listeners, artists and celebrity partners stepped up to join WhyHunger in the critical work of building a just food system that upholds everyone’s right to nutritious food and we cannot thank them enough!”
Funds raised are invested in long-term community-based solutions that help people in need in communities across America. By resourcing, connecting and supporting the grassroots leaders who are nourishing our nation and transforming our food system, WhyHunger is working to create a powerful, vital collective to drive change and strike at the root causes of hunger, poverty and injustice.
With over 150 auction items and experience packages hosted on charitybuzz.com, this year's top items included:
2016 Hungerthon Ambassadors included singer/songwriter and actress Emily Kinney, singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins and the rock band Switchfoot, who used their platforms to help raise awareness about the campaign and spur their fans into action. Additionally, WhyHunger’s long-time board member and Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter Tom Chapin joined the team at CBS Radio New York to support a live radiothon on Nov 22nd. Special thanks goes to the thousands of individual donors who contributed, over 100 volunteers who gave their time and talents, our incredible radio partners; SiriusXM Satellite Radio, CBS Radio New York, Cumulus New York and iHeartMedia, and our corporate sponsor PSS Distribution Services for their support.
A month ago, I got to attend the Facing Race Conference in Atlanta with several colleagues two days after the election and it could not have been timelier. After this long election, many were exhausted, panic-stricken and scared and this was the perfect place to heal and find opportunities to learn and collaborate together. From the beginning to the end, the theme of this space was clear; the importance of collaboration amongst racial justice groups and the need to have conversation. Race Forward: The Center For Racial Justice Innovation advances racial justice through research, media and practice and they host Facing Race, the largest conference for racial justice movement-making, focused on alliance building, issue framing and advancing solutions. This year’s conference had over 50 workshops. The opening plenary, ‘Multiracial Movements for Black Lives’ consisted of Michelle Alexander as the moderator and Alicia Garza, Founder of #BlackLivesMatter, Judith LeBlanc of Native Organizers Alliance, Isa Noyola of Transgender Law Center, Zon Moua of Freedom Inc. & Chris Crass, a longtime leading voice in white communities for racial justice anti-racist organizing. This intersectional conversation was powerful because it highlighted the importance of building deep alliances that are inclusive so all voices are heard.
Alicia Garza, the co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter pointed out the importance of having deep multiracial and multinational alliances that practice real solidarity. Crass was one of the last speakers of the opening plenary and used humor to connect with the audience, showcasing his passion about addressing racism and making sure that white people have conversations with each other about white privilege. This was essential in that it highlighted the importance of white people in racial justice movement work and reminded individuals to not only learn but to hold each other accountable to grow together. By calling out white people and what it means to be a white ally, Crass highlighted the enormity of the work ahead.
Again and again throughout the weekend, we were reminded that open conversations and the need for unity is key to this work because we are stronger when we are united and coordinated. Facing Race is a solid model of holding space to discuss our struggles and the difficulty of the fight for rights. It allows participants to reflect back on what has been done and is being done to build racial and social justice and continuing to fight and grow together.
The conversations in workshops were wide-ranging and touched on topics from implicit bias to power inclusion to racial equity plans, structural racism, systems change, activist philanthropy, mass criminalization and more. These workshops exemplified how critical it is to take the time to listen and learn from different voices and experiences.
Here are my 4 key takeaways:
1. When it comes to implicit bias, we might think that our actions and decisions are not harmful but choices that are invisible have visible consequences. Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. Some biases are obviously wrong such as treating equally qualified applicants differently in hiring’s and promotions. Every day biases, like making assumptions on an applicant based on their name, are hard to point out because they’re so personal so it’s up to us to hold each other accountable and be aware of what we do to each other. One phrase I heard at the conference, ‘if we had the ability to make the invisible, visible’ is intriguing in that if we were faced with these unconscious biases, would one recognize they were coming from you? ‘Who’s telling the story and who has the power?’ was a clear theme of this conference and how meaningful and essential the power of narrative is.
2. Conversations about power inclusion and equity are challenging but necessary. As our society becomes more and more fractured, we must not exclude but rather engage all communities to get people in the room that have different experiences, strengths and blind spots. Creating the space for human connection to share and listen to one another’s stories is in itself a healing process and essential in challenging times.
3. Show up in spaces you don’t think are connected to the work to do. Social justice has many layers and as Roxane Gay said during her keynote speech ‘it is simple and complicated in that it’s just common sense.’ We need to continue to discuss the economic realities that make it so that people cannot feed themselves. We tend to just focus on what is oppressing us and we need to discuss how power and privilege play a role in our lives, because having privilege does not mean that we’re not disadvantaged elsewhere.
4. Advocating & supporting each other is crucial. Getting to hear from activists and elders that have been doing this work alongside those that are just starting the work at this conference was so powerful. There’s much to learn from each other and from what’s happened in the past. The intentionality when it comes to bridging the gap, perceived and actual, between communities that seem unlikely to collaborate shows that we all have the power to affect change. Being willing to get past preconceived notions because ‘often it is us that is dividing and conquering’ is something an elder said during one of the workshops that also stood out because it is important to pair intersectionality with intentionality. Find the movements and shakers in each community because we’re not starting from scratch.
Going forward, this experience adds fuel to WhyHunger’s motivation to continue expanding our learning and growth around the issues of race and privilege with ourselves and with our partners.
In order to learn more about Facing Race and Race forward, go to their website here.
WhyHunger is a member of the National Anti-Hunger Organziations (NAHO), along with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), No Kid Hungry, and the Alliance to End Hunger. The following statement is delivered by NAHO.
December 14, 2016 ─ Our organizations, which make up the National Anti-Hunger Organizations, are committed to ensuring a strong and effective national nutrition safety net for vulnerable, low-income individuals and families. With a united voice, we reflect on the hunger problem in America and its solutions as we transition to a new president and a new Congress.
There are 42 million people in this country — 13 million of them children and over 5 million of them seniors — living in households struggling with hunger. This problem would be far, far worse if not for the nation’s very effective anti-hunger programs:
• the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps);
• the National School Breakfast and School Lunch programs;
• the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that provides nutritious meals for children in child care, Head Start, and afterschool programs and shelters;
• the Summer Meals programs;
• the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
• The Emergency Food Assistance Program ( TEFAP), which provides commodities to food banks;
• the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations; and
• nutrition programs for the elderly (e.g., the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and congregate and home-delivered meals).
Together, these federal nutrition programs reduce hunger and poverty, improve health and learning, increase productivity, create jobs, and strengthen our communities. They help the many people in our country — of all ages, races, ethnicities, and life circumstances — who are struggling. This includes seniors, children, people with disabilities, military and veterans’ families, low-wage workers, unemployed and underemployed adults, and others.
In particular, SNAP, as our nation’s first line of defense against hunger, has the broadest reach. It is structured to respond effectively to need as a result of economic downturns, natural disasters, and other causes.
Soon, the new Congress and President-elect Trump will be sworn in and will begin making key decisions. We call on them to recommit America to one of its most important and widely agreed-upon beliefs, one that has deep and long-standing bipartisan support: nobody in this country should go hungry.
We call on them to safeguard the federal nutrition programs, including protecting the programs against block grants or other structural changes that would undermine their effectiveness; fully funding these programs and defending them against budget cuts; and taking steps to assure all hungry people in our country receive the help they need.
We look forward to working with the new Congress and President-elect Trump toward the goal of ending hunger in the United States.
On a rainy November evening, WhyHunger co-founder and ambassador Bill Ayres joined scholar, activist and WhyHunger Board Member Jan Poppendieck for a conversation with the Wagner Food Policy Alliance at New York University. Inspired by Jan’s recent report for WhyHunger titled "School Breakfast at Half Century: A Look Back to Look Ahead", the event focused on challenges and successes for food justice activists and advocates. Both Bill and Jan offered a lifetime of experience to share, which was eagerly absorbed by the audience of students and professionals of all ages.
Graduate student and Wagner Food Policy Alliance board member Sam Sundius moderated the conversation and began with a question about advocacy at the federal level for food programs like the National School Breakfast Program. Jan shared her experience working on this campaign as a “lesson in incrementalism” for advocates and activists. While not always a proponent of this approach, hindsight has shown that after some major wins early on, like the program’s permanency and performance-based funding structure, it has been the slow and steady changes that have secured school breakfast as a widespread and ongoing national program. Today, 90% of schools who participate in the school lunch program also have school breakfast.
Reflecting on his advocacy in Washington alongside WhyHunger co-founder Harry Chapin, Bill remembers times when it seemed all hope was lost around federal funding for nutrition programs and policy support for anti-hunger efforts. He reaffirmed that these moments are opportunities for social movements, and that real change comes from the grassroots up. He referred to the work of WhyHunger as building a “movement of movements,” from worker-led organizations to advocacy groups, and commented that this is also why we aim to harness the power of storytelling through music and the arts as a force for positive social change.
“There is a food movement,” Jan agreed. “We all eat and more and more people care about what they and their children eat.” Jan highlighted the work of the civil rights movement as paving the way for the anti-hunger movement as we know it, emphasizing the need to align food justice with struggles for racial and economic justice.
Currently, 1 in 4 Americans participates in at least one of the fourteen federal food assistance programs, making this an issue that individuals and organizations across the spectrum of the food movement can rally behind. Both Jan and Bill encouraged attendees to stay engaged and vigilant not just on the federal level, but to look for actions and policies to support on the state, regional and local levels. One way to get involved locally in New York City that Jan asked attendees to consider is with the Lunch 4 Learning campaign, which is currently advocating for universal free lunch in New York City schools.
Listening to this sincere conversation between two lifelong advocates for food justice was perhaps just what budding activists need to hear in the current uncertain political climate. As Bill offered hope he encouraged us all to keep building, “Don’t be passive, be active.”
Read Jan Poppendieck’s latest book, Free for All: Fixing School Food in America.
Tis’ the season! This time of year we’re all thinking about special gifts that we can give to loved ones, so how about making sure at least one of those is a gift with meaning? Here’s our annual WhyHunger Holiday Gift Guide, a compilation of 10 unique, staff favorites that support the work of WhyHunger and our valued partners to make a positive impact on the issues we care about. There’s something for everyone!
This delicately-sculpted sterling silver charm has sheaves of wheat along the sides, framing the handwritten words “Give Thanks” in black enamel. Features a beautifully braided bale and our “give” logo in black enamel on the back; includes a keepsake charm card. A portion of the proceeds benefit WhyHunger. Order online today. $45.00
Support youth activism with the “Fund Black Futures” t-shirt from the Black Youth Project (BYP100). This grassroots organization is dedicated to creating justice and trains young black activists in direct action grassroots organizing skills, so they can build power and transform their communities. Purchase here. $18.00
“Our Food, Our Right: Recipes for Food Justice” by the Community Alliance for Global Justice. This cookbook has over 50 contributors’ collected efforts and wisdom, this guide has the tools you need to take back your food choices and stand up for all people’s rights to good, healthy and culturally appropriate food! Foreword by Raj Patel. Buy it here. $18.95
Get this great statement poster from our longtime partner the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). This poster represents their Fair Food Program, which works to guarantee rights for farmworkers in Florida's tomato industry. Use this to proudly show off that you support the justice and dignity that the Fair Food Program upholds for the men and women who harvest U.S. produce. Get it here. $22.00
Bring in the New Year with California Sparkling Wine from ONEHOPE! This wine is light in color and displays aromas of fresh green apple and nectarine with a hint of fresh baked bread. Pairs with appetizers, seafood, sushi as well as a wide range of desserts and cheeses. A portion of the proceeds go to support WhyHunger. Order online today. $59.00
Want to support Standing Rock? Get this limited edition tee designed and produced by Native American Clothing Company (NTVS). NTVS has collaborated with the Indigenous Environmental Network, a leader in the #NoDAPL resistance that is fighting for climate and economic justice, with proceeds from the shirt supporting their actions. Get it here. $24.00
There’s still time left to get your holiday cards! Our Closing the Hunger Gap partner, Oregon Food Bank, offers two holiday cards to choose from – proceeds from the cards will go directly to providing healthy meals to those in need. All you have to do is place your order by December 19th. $10.00
Create awareness and an educational opportunity about food sovereignty at the table with food sovereignty placemats from Grassroots International, a partner of ours in movement building around the globe. These laminated, double-sided placemats tell the story of the broken food system on one side and examples of how to fix it on the other side. Each measure 11" x 17", perfect for the kitchen table! Order here. $15.00
Step back in time with the 2016 Hungerthon sweatshirt! The orange, white and red vintage logo is a throwback to WhyHunger’s start in the 1970s. The WhyHunger logo is displayed on the front of the sweatshirt in white. This heavyweight, full-zip sweatshirt is sure to keep you warm during those cold winter nights. Order here. $100.00
Add some amazing flavor to your holiday dishes with herb salts from Rise & Root Farm, a food justice partner and woman-led farm in upstate NY that is committed to engaging rural and urban communities through food and farming. These salts are made with herbs grown at the farm and are available in a variety of mixes that include garlic salt, triple basil salt, lemongo and more! Buy through their online store. $8.00
Still not sure what to get? You can always make a donation on behalf of someone to give back to your favorite local community-based organization. We hope you enjoyed our list, happy gift giving!
The Sioux Tribe and water keepers everywhere have something to celebrate with Obama’s Executive order to halt the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline through the Sioux nation in North Dakota, announced this week. Peaceful demonstrations of resistance by a large mass of people, solidarity from all around the world, and unwavering commitment to the action were significant to this announcement. WhyHunger was a signatory on a letter to President Obama that was delivered last Friday – one of many letters that flooded the Oval office. So, a celebration is in order and victory can be declared. However, this has to be the beginning of the action. It’s only a temporary victory (the new administration has already hinted that they may overturn it), but it offers hope and some lessons that we can all learn from as we head into 2017 and continue to work to build power at the grassroots. Read on to learn more about the victory and lessons learned.
The following piece originally appeared as "The Lesson from Standing Rock: Organizing and Resistance Can Win" by Naomi Klein for The Nation.
“I’ve never been so happy doing dishes,” Ivy Longie says, and then she starts laughing. Then crying. And then there is hugging. Then more hugging.
Less than two hours earlier, news came that the Army Corps of Engineers had turned down the permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline to be built under the Missouri River. The company will have to find an alternate route and undergo a lengthy environmental assessment.
Ever since, the network of camps now housing thousands of water protectors has been in the throes of (cautious) celebration and giving thanks, from cheers to processions to round dances. Here, at the family home of Standing Rock Tribal Councilman Cody Two Bears, friends and family members who have been at the center of the struggle are starting to gather for a more private celebration.
Which is why the dishes must be done. And the soup must be cooked. And the Facetime calls must be made to stalwart supporters, from Gasland filmmaker Josh Fox to environmental icon Erin Brockovich. And the Facebook live videos must, of course, be made. Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard—here as part of a delegation of thousands of anti-pipeline veterans—is on her way over. (“Exhilarated,” is how she says she feels when she arrives.) CNN must, of course, be watched, which to the amazement of everyone here gives full credit to the water protectors (while calling them “protesters”).
The climate movement already knew that mass organizing could get results. We learned it, most recently, in the Keystone XL fight and the resistance to Shell’s Arctic Drilling. Victories usually come incrementally, however, and at some delay after mass action.
Standing Rock is different. This time the movement was still out on the land in massive numbers when the news came down. The line between resistance and results is bright and undeniable. That kind of victory is rare precisely because it’s contagious, because it shows people everywhere that organizing and resistance is not futile. And as Donald Trump moves closer and closer to the White House, that message is very important indeed.
The youngest person here is someone many people credit with starting this remarkable movement: 13-year-old Tokata Iron Eyes, a fiercely grounded yet playful water-warrior who joined with her friends to spread the word about the threat the pipeline posed to their water. When I asked her how she felt about the breaking news she replied, “Like I got my future back”—and then we both broke down in tears.
Everyone here is aware that the fight is not over. The company will challenge the decision. Trump will try to reverse it. “The legal path is not yet clear, and the need to put financial pressure on the banks invested in the pipeline is more crucial than ever,” says Chase Iron Eyes, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe attorney and member (and a recent congressional candidate).
Nor does today’s victory erase the need for justice and restitution for the string of shocking human-rights violations against the mainly Indigenous water protectors—the water cannons, the dog attacks, the hundreds arrested, the grave injuries inflicted by supposedly non-lethal weapons.
Still, there is more physical and psychic relief in this room than I have witnessed in my life. As Cody’s father, Don Two Bears, says when he arrives at the house, “It’s not over, but it’s a good day.”
For his son, what today means is that the real work can begin: building living and inspiring alternatives to water-polluting and climate-destabilizing fossil fuels. Leaning back on his leather chair, dressed in a red sweatshirt with the word “Warrior” emblazoned in black letters, Cody Two Bears reflects on the start of colonization, when his ancestors taught the Europeans to survive in a harsh and unfamiliar climate.
“We taught them how to grow food, keep warm, build longhouses.” But the taking never ended, from the Earth and from Indigenous people. And now, Two Bears says, “things are getting worse. So the first people of this land have to teach this country how to live again. By going green, by going renewable, by using the blessings the creator has given us: the sun and the wind.
“We are going to start in Native country. And we’re going to show the rest of the country how to live.”
For more reading on Standing Rock: