Equity: A Powerful Resource to End Childhood Hunger

It takes more than food to end childhood hunger.

No Kid Hungry acknowledges that poverty and hunger disproportionately impact economically marginalized communities and communities of color. We know that ensuring equity in terms of food and economic access allows all communities and children to thrive. And like any big and important mission, ending childhood hunger (and supporting equity to do so) means having the right tools for the job.

With your support, we build and share free tools to schools and community organizations so they can ensure the kids receive three meals a day 365 days of the year. At the same time, we collaborate with the committed frontline meal providers in communities to fully understand what causes hunger in their own communities in the first place. And this means understanding how issues of equity impact communities—especially communities of color and rural communities.

Jeannine Rios and Chelsea MacCormack, two skilled toolmakers working for No Kid Hungry, created a peer-to peer platform for frontline meal providers so they could support each other and share best practices in how to incorporate equity in their own child nutrition programs Currently the No Kid Hungry Equity in Child Nutrition platform highlights five stories from different school districts that center equity in their meal programs and also a series of online resources and webinars where other districts can learn best practices in building equity into their nutrition programs

Livewell crew

LiveWell staff and community members

One of the organizations highlighted in this resource is LiveWell in Greenville, SC. They are a coalition of organizations, such as food agencies, faith communities, early childhood centers and schools, working together to ensure people in Greenville County have access to healthy food and active living.

LiveWell Greenville has centered equity by including the community in their decision-making, listening to them through bilingual surveys, focus groups and including people with lived experience in a year-long advisory board on food equity. 

“Relationships are built to lead to authentic community and support,” explained Susan Frantz. Through the feedback from the community, they have added Spanish interpretation to their meetings, bilingual signage for meals and informal spaces where people can discuss nutrition needs.

MacCormack and Rios know firsthand how critical it is to bring a strong sense of equity, as well as compassion and active, respectful listening to the cause of ending childhood hunger ,because it impacts how much kids participate in meal programs and the situations they face at home.

“If I create a program based on what I think the community needs, nobody will come, so everybody’s left out. Relationship building, listening and trust are very important,” Rios explained.

This understanding comes from personal experience.

MacCormack comes from a rural area close to Roanoke, Va. After being away from the community, she returned to complete a study for Feeding America and found herself witnessing hunger in very personal way.


Chelsea in a foodbank

“It was a really heartbreaking experience because I did interview people I went to school with, who are now receiving food in the food pantries, or my teachers, or even my school nutrition staff,” she shared. “It really just drove me to continue to want to work in this field.”

Rios, originally from California and a long-time resident of Texas, worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras helping families get access to healthcare. Her experience there was eye-opening and humbling, and continues to shape her thinking and commitment to her current work in the United States.

Jeannine and her dad

“I always felt like people could live better lives if they had the information they needed to improve their lives,” she said. “And just digging deeper, you learn about the root problems and other system problems that create poverty, that create hunger, that create situations where the richest country in the world has people going hungry.”

Some of the themes featured in the No Kid Hungry Equity in Child Nutrition resource include Advancing Equity: Designing Meal Programs for Every Child and Fostering Health Equity Through Out-of-School Time Meal Programs, Planning with Purpose – An Equity Diversity and Inclusion Checklist as well as recorded webinars featuring frontline meal providers like Centering Equity in Policy – Highlights from Louisiana.”

Like Rios and MacCormack, we are passionate about ending childhood hunger and ensuring schools and community organizations have the resources to make their programs equitable for all children.

Join us to ensure children have the three meals they need to thrive 365 days of the year.