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No Kid Hungry: Nonprofit Spotlight

No Kid Hungry: Nonprofit Spotlight

March 29, 2024 by Giving Assistant Editorial Team

It’s hard to believe, but millions of children in the United States live in food-insecure homes where family members go to bed hungry and don’t have enough food to lead a healthy life. Feeding America projects that 42 million people (1 in 8), including as many as 13 million children (1 in 6), may experience food insecurity in 2021 due to the impact of the pandemic.

That’s why we’re shining a light on No Kid Hungry, a nonprofit campaign working to end childhood hunger and to provide all kids with the nutritious food they need every day to thrive.

Their goal: feed every child in America.

Learn more about No Kid Hungry and how it helps child hunger relief programs and communities feed children and ensure every kid gets three meals a day and can grow up with a healthier start to their lives.

What is No Kid Hungry?

What is No Kid Hungry

No Kid Hungry is a national campaign run by Share Our Strength, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit working to end hunger and poverty in the United States. Through a combination of strategic assistance, school meal programs, emergency grants, advocacy, and awareness, No Kid Hungry is helping kids, families, and communities gain access to the food they need.

No Kid Hungry History

Founder of No Kid Hungry Debbie Shore

Billy and Debbie Shore founded Share Our Strength, the parent organization for the No Kid Hungry campaign, in 1984 as a response to the famine in Ethiopia. The brother and sister team has since led the organization in raising more than $700 million to fight hunger and poverty.

The nonprofit works with national leaders in business, government, health, education, sports, entertainment, and restaurant industries to spread awareness and help fund long-term solutions to fighting childhood hunger. For example, in 1988, some of the nation’s best restaurants raised nearly $250,000 at the nonprofit’s first-ever Taste of the Nation event. In 1992, Share Our Strength launched “Charge Against Hunger.” It became one of the first successful national cause marketing campaigns raising over $20 million for anti-hunger groups across the U.S.

By 2006, early pilot projects for what would become No Kid Hungry surfaced across the country. Finally, after twenty-five years of successfully investing in local communities and other nonprofits using the most effective approaches to eradicating hunger and poverty, Share Our Strength launched No Kid Hungry in 2010 with Jeff Bridges. The actor still serves as the national spokesperson for the campaign primarily focused on ending childhood hunger.

Since 2019, No Kid Hungry’s instrumental role in helping schools and community groups feed kids throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including more than $98 million in grant funding sent to 2,350 schools, food banks, and organizations to improve the food security of children and their families across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and Guam.

How No Kid Hungry Gives Back

No Kid Hungry works with communities across the country to create, improve, and expand sustainable solutions and existing programs that feed children in the following ways:

1. School Meals

No Kid Hungry School Meal

School meals programs, like the ones below, are at the heart of No Kid Hungry’s mission:

  • School Breakfast: To bridge the gap between the estimated 3 million kids in need of a healthy breakfast at school and the ones getting it, No Kid Hungry helps educators and lawmakers push for making breakfast a part of the regular school day for students.
  • Summer Meals: Nationwide summer lunch programs run by schools and community groups provide free, healthy meals to any kid or teenager in need. In rural communities, where it’s more difficult for children to get to sites serving free lunches, No Kid Hungry finds solutions, like working with food trucks to deliver meals to children.
  • Afterschool Meals: In many districts, the incentive of afterschool meals and snacks for students willing to stay after school for tutoring can lead to increased attendance, test scores, and graduation rates. No Kid Hungry helps parents and educators bring afterschool meal programs to their schools.

2. Free Meals Finder

No Kid Hungry Free Meals Finder

In response to schools closing nationwide due to the pandemic, the No Kid Hungry Free Meals Finder launched in 2020. This free online service helps families find free, healthy meals served by schools, food banks, and community organizations. It includes nearly 40,000 locations across 40 states, with information available in English and Spanish.

3. Grants for Community Programs

No Kid Hungry Community Groups

No Kid Hungry provides grants to schools and community groups to ensure they have enough money to operate their youth meal programs. These community grants are rarely used to buy food but instead provide organizations with funding for the essential equipment, tools, supplies, and resources (like technical assistance) they need. The grants also help recruit new food program sites and teach families how to prevent hunger at home.

In its COVID-19 response, No Kid Hungry primarily addressed the needs of two groups disproportionately affected by the pandemic: roughly two-thirds of allocated grant funds went to organizations supporting communities of color and about one-third to rural communities.

4. Advocacy

No Kids Hungry Alongside Government

As advocates for children, No Kid Hungry works alongside government agencies and elected officials to improve and expand access to the nutrition programs that help feed hungry kids.

No Kid Hungry Impact

No Kid Hungry immediately went into action to fight for policies to assist those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and has since helped serve close to 1 billion meals to kids and families at schools and community sites nationwide. They also invested more than $98 million in grant funding into meals programs in every U.S. state, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam.

No Kid Hungry also helped shape crucial policies and programs during the pandemic, such as:

  • A 15% increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, about $25 per month more for working families
  • Waiving government-set program restrictions on how schools can feed kids
  • Emergency food benefits for each day when school buildings were closed (about $7 per child)

No Kid Hungry also partners with local restaurants and companies to provide more meals to kids in need. In 2021, the High Five Challenge offers a buy one, get one free food and drink coupon to customers who donate $5 or more at participating eateries, while No Kid Hungry’s back to school campaign with DoorDash will donate up to 100,000 free deliveries to schools.

Future Plans for No Kid Hungry

Future of No Kid Hungry Leader Conference

Helping kids, families, and communities recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is at the forefront of No Kid Hungry’s Policy Priorities for 2021. The nonprofit has plans to:

  • Strengthen the SNAP program to reach more kids by urging lawmakers to 1) permanently increase SNAP benefits, 2) increase the federal income eligibility level for SNAP to 200% of the federal poverty level or $43,000 for a family of three, and 3) offer nutrition education.
  • Modernize the national summer meals program, especially for children in rural and hard-to-reach communities, by expanding the number of states with the Summer EBT program and making it easier for schools and community groups to serve needed meals year-round.
  • Increase the reach of nutritional aid programs through public policy, such as the permanent authorization of the Pandemic EBT system and extending the benefits of the Community Eligibility Provision to help more schools in high-need communities across the country offer free meals to students.

How to Support No Kid Hungry

A few ways you can show support:

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Find out more about nonprofits fighting to end hunger and learn how you can help.