Since the pandemic began, I’ve talked with countless school officials to better understand their challenges, barriers, and how No Kid Hungry can support them. We must recommit ourselves to ensuring that not a single child will miss a meal despite the challenges of the moment. Which is why we've launched the No Kid Hungry Monday Fund.
I was speaking by phone recently with Jennifer LeBarre, the director of nutrition for San Francisco schools when I heard her voice break describing the situation in her district. Jennifer has been working around the clock to support those she calls “the real heroes” – the food service workers, bus drivers, volunteers and others who at great personal risk are finding creative ways to get school meals to kids while school buildings are closed.
For the past six months, we’ve been working with thousands of school leaders like Jennifer across the country, providing over $27 million in emergency grants and securing the waivers they need to deliver meals outside of the cafeteria.
In the wake of COVID-19, as many as 1 in 4 children in the United States could face hunger. As a result, children are facing hunger at the highest rates we’ve seen in generations, erasing a lot of the significant progress we’d made toward ending childhood hunger. These staggering numbers are even higher in communities of color. It may take a decade to fully recover from this crisis, and we must ensure that children are not hungry today, or in the difficult years ahead.
In response to this growing crisis, No Kid Hungry is launching The Monday Fund, a recovery campaign to raise and deploy $100 million by 2023 to feed kids through crisis and prevent hunger in the difficult years ahead.
We are proud to announce this effort along with honorary chairs and hunger champions Ayesha and Stephen Curry, as well as Sam Kass and Rachael Ray, plus an incredible campaign team led by co-chairs Renee and John Grisham and Carrie and Leigh Abramson. Funds raised will be invested in schools and community organizations on the front lines and will help secure policies and solutions to strengthen the safety net for children, helping families prevent hunger at home and when school is out.
Childhood hunger remains the most solvable aspect of this terrible and tragic crisis. We have no shortage of food or of brave souls like the food service workers putting everything on the line to feed our kids. The least we can do is make sure they have what they need to get the job done.
Help us finish what we’ve started. We dramatically reduced childhood hunger before COVID-19. With your help we can do it again.
To learn more about The Monday Fund and how you can get involved, contact Alison Zayas.