Feeding Our Nation’s Youngest Kids

Kids Playing Outside

Millions of children under the age of six are facing hunger and hardship at alarming rates, while their families are forced to make tradeoffs between food and other basic necessities. As early childhood is the most intensive period of brain and body development, hunger and hardship at this age can have long-term implications for children.

No Kid Hungry knows that community organizations, early child care centers and healthcare providers play a key role in ensuring young children receive access to nutritious food they need to learn, grow and thrive to reach their full potential. To decrease food insecurity among children five and under, we launched a new Early Childhood Grant Program, distributing $3 million in grants to more than 120 organizations in 34 states and the District of Columbia. These organizations will support 170,000 children, and 4 out of 5 grantees are active in communities of color.

Here are highlights of some of our grantees and what they’re planning to accomplish with the support of a No Kid Hungry grant: 

Healthcare Providers

  • Presbyterian Healthcare Services, New Mexico
    The project will increase access to healthy food for young children by providing food vouchers at home visiting and/or primary care pediatric visits and increase public awareness of available food resources through improved coordination and promotion between healthcare providers, including a community health worker, home visitors, the local health council, local food resources (e.g. grocery store, WIC, community garden, Socorro Farmers Market), and New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension. The proposed project seeks to pilot test two types of food vouchers, one $20 voucher for fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables at the local grocery store and one $20 voucher to an online produce food co-op that will deliver and distribute food within the clinic. 
  • NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, New York
    NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's program "Choosing Healthy Active Lifestyles for Kids" partnered with West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH), and with community-based organizations (CBOs) to create a series of Mobile Market food pantry opportunities. No Kid Hungry funds will help serve the increasing number of children's families receiving meals. Mobile Market food trucks visit neighborhoods where families with high rates of food insecurity have been enrolled by a partner CBO to participate in Mobile Market. In addition, the Mobile Market will increase users’ awareness of community resources, government benefits, and healthcare linkages, and help them enroll where eligible. This will help them get long-term, sustainable help that they need beyond emergency food distribution.
  • The Hurley Foundation, Michigan
    The Hurley Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports Hurley Medical Center's effort to transform healthcare, working to improve the health and development of vulnerable children who live in Flint, Michigan. Grant funds will support the existing and successful clinic-based fruit and vegetable prescription program, and help build a new fresh produce box delivery program to address COVID-related food insecurity with an additional "COVID Supplement Flint Fresh Prescription" for all children under 6 at one of Flint's largest pediatric clinics. Read more in a Q&A post from Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, director at the MSU-Hurley Pediatric Public Health Initiative. 

Early Child Care Centers

  • Multicultural Child and Family Hope Center, Washington
    The Multicultural Child and Family Hope Center (MCFHC) is an early learning center that saw an uptick in need at the start of the pandemic and knows many families are still struggling. With No Kid Hungry grant funds, they’ll provide additional meals, grocery boxes, backpacks of food and emergency meal assistance for children ages 0-5 who are enrolled in our Early Learning Program, as well as our foster care drop-ins. MCFHC will additionally connect our families, who are overwhelmingly low-income (98%), BIPOC (66%) and ESL families (9%), with information on WIC, SNAP and public food assistance programs.
  • Busy Bee's Early Learning Center, Maryland 
    Busy Bee's Early Learning Center is a Black woman owned company aiming to empower families and communities with the support needed to inspire learning through early encounters. No Kid Hungry funds will expand their impact by increasing the number of families and children they serve, providing fresh food, nutrition information and cooking demonstrations for our existing and new families, and helping connect families to nutrition programs like SNAP and WIC.
  • New Mexico Child First Network, New Mexico
    New Mexico Child First Network is dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk kids in New Mexico and those who take care of them. Western Heights Learning Center and New Mexico Child First Network have partnered to bring food security to newborns born with neonatal deficient disorders. Funds from No Kid Hungry will allow consistent meal delivery to families, allowing mothers & infants to receive nutritional meals, formula, personal contact and continued resources & intervention.

Community Organizations 

  • Boulder County Farmers Markets, Colorado
    Boulder County Farmers Markets is a producer-only farmers market that will use grant funds to support the Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE) program and the WIC Farmers Market program in Boulder County. Boulder County Farmers Market recognizes that food insecurity disproportionately impacts families of color, so they maximize their efforts to assist those families best access fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • The Food Trust, Pennsylvania & New Jersey
    The Food Trust is dedicated to ensuring that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food and information to make healthy decisions. The Food Trust will use grant funds to coordinate 12-14 new access points for fresh fruits and vegetables by operating farm stands at early care and education sites located in SNAP-Ed eligible communities across Philadelphia, PA and New Jersey. They will also enhance farms to ECE work at each site, with the goal of setting healthy eating habits at an early age.
  • The Cambodian Family, California
    The Cambodian Family promotes social health by providing refugee and immigrant families the opportunities to further health and well-being in their lives. The Cambodian Family will utilize grant funds to increase the awareness of Orange County’s Latino and Cambodian residents regarding nutrition programs like WIC, SNAP and Medicaid, and increase the number of eligible families and parents who apply to receive these benefits.  

Each of these grantees play a key role in ensuring children receive access to the nutritious food they need to learn, grow and thrive to reach their full potential, while supporting their communities during difficult times. Not only are these organizations on the front lines of hunger, they’re also led by members of the community with a deep understanding of the families they serve and an authentic connection to the unique needs of their towns and neighborhoods. For a full list of grantees, click here.

To read more about our 0-5 work, visit our Center for Best Practices for more.