‘Viewpoints’ invites guest authors from outside of Wells Fargo to share an important perspective related to their work. Today, we welcome Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America.
In America, 40 million people face hunger. This may mean that children in your community are dealing with the pain of an empty stomach instead of playing with friends. Students are skipping meals and struggling to study. Parents are coming home to hungry kids and empty refrigerators. And in many cities and towns, record-breaking natural disasters have caused many families to need food assistance for the first time.
Feeding America is on a mission to feed the hungry and engage our country in the fight to end hunger. As the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, Feeding America provides more than 4 billion meals each year. Thanks to the generous support of companies like Wells Fargo, our nationwide network of food banks, food pantries, and meal programs provides food to one in seven Americans across the country.
In addition to feeding people today, we focus on helping households achieve long-term food security for tomorrow. We also invest in research, innovation, and technology to continuously improve our work, so we can provide more food to people in need. Our vision is a hunger-free America.
Alleviating child hunger
Child hunger is one of the most urgent problems facing our country. Across the U.S., one in six children face hunger. Research shows that children are more likely to experience challenges with growth, development, and learning when they don’t get the nutrients they need. It’s hard for a child to concentrate in the classroom with a grumbling stomach, let alone earn good grades and prepare to enter the workforce as an adult.
At Feeding America, we believe that no child should struggle with hunger, and we are doing more each day to reach kids in need. One of our child hunger programs, Kids Cafe, provides free meals and snacks to children from low-income households in places that are familiar, like libraries, churches, and schools nationwide.
The Kids Cafe program reaches millions of kids every year, including 10-year-old Maybela. According to Maybela’s mom, Dorothy, “The Kids Cafe is a huge help to me. I’ve skipped meals so Maybela can eat,” she said. “But I’m so grateful we have this place, so we don’t need to go to those extremes often. We can rely on these meals when times get really tough.”
Feeding America also offers a little magic to families in need during the holiday season. Food banks nationwide host special holiday food distributions that reach families like Brittany’s. Brittany and her husband both work and stretch every dollar to feed their two boys — even when it meant going without heat and holiday meals. Last year, Brittany was overjoyed when she discovered that volunteers were giving away groceries for a holiday meal — including turkey, cranberries, and potatoes — at a Feeding America food bank’s mobile pantry near her home.
“For Christmas and Thanksgiving this year, we got to eat meat, and it was such a luxury,” Brittany said. “My son was so excited and kept saying, ‘I love turkey!’ There was something so magical about being able to sit at the dinner table with my family and enjoy that holiday meal.”
Fighting hunger together
By teaming up with businesses like Wells Fargo, Feeding America provides meals to more families like Dorothy’s and Brittany’s every day. This holiday season, Wells Fargo is driving support for Feeding America’s efforts to serve children and families in need. The company is accepting donations to Feeding America at Wells Fargo ATMs, matching monetary donations up to $1 million made to Feeding America, and inspiring its team members to volunteer at Feeding America food banks. By sharing food, dollars, and time with their neighbors in need and encouraging the public to get involved, Wells Fargo is making a meaningful difference in the lives of many hungry families.