With the lack of access to affordable, nutritious diets, food insecurity has been a continuing problem across the country. According to the Food Research & Action Center, over 38 million Americans lived in households that were food insecure in 2020. Additionally, about 3.9% of households in America experienced very low food security in the form of skipping meals or reducing intake. One of the most harrowing data points was that 1 in 7 households with children was unable to buy enough food for their families.
Fortunately, organizations across the country and locally are committed to reducing these statistics and making children more food secure.
The Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty is a Waco-based collaborative team that conducts research, advocates for policy changes and nurtures evidence-based solutions to the challenges of food and economic injustice through coalitions built throughout the state of Texas. The team tackles hunger, migration and nonprofit excellence to adequately navigate food insecurity throughout the state.
Baylor Collaborative has a specific Child Nutrition Program, which works closely with state and federal agencies to administer these nutrition programs for children. During the summer of 2020, Baylor Collaborative extended its Emergency Meals to You program during the pandemic, providing almost 40 million meals across 43 states. The team also provides school breakfast as well as summer and after-school meals. As stated on their website, “Public service is the engine that makes us run.”
Hungry Souls is an Austin-based nonprofit that partners with schools across the Central Texas area and provides weekend and school break meals to students and their families. This organization desires to feed the greater Austin area, educate the public on the importance of ending child hunger and serve the community through their love of Jesus. It’s dedicated to
uplifting the young population of Austin to ensure they’re doing well academically, especially as children facing hunger are twice as likely to repeat a grade, according to an article published by the National Education Association. Hungry Souls serves areas in Austin that are at least 80% economically disadvantaged. You can see which schools are partnered with this organization on their website.
The team at Hungry Souls delivers cooler bags of food and menus for the weekend to use for cooking. Their impact has tripled from 2020 to 2021; they are now partnered with 24 schools and have donated almost 35,000 pounds of food. You can get more involved by donating online one time or as a monthly donor, or you can donate specific items that are in need.
HopeAustin is another Austin-based organization that supports the youngest members of the community by providing food security. This organization provides weekend meals to students who qualify for subsidized meals during the school week. There are four programs offered by HopeAustin: the Meal Kit, Snack Support, Food Shak and the Family Meal Box program. HopeAustin partners with 80 schools within six school districts around Austin, serving over 45,000 meals per month and 1,900 students per week. There are great ways to get involved with this organization, from donating food or funds to volunteering!
No Kid Hungry Texas promises to let no child go hungry. According to Feeding America, about 20% of children in Texas live in food-insecure homes; No Kid Hungry Texas strives to end this trend by providing many programs and outreach in Texas. These initiatives include school breakfast, summer meals, after-school meals, food skills education, research, policy and advocacy. Program manager Mia Medina says that they are “ensuring kids have access to three healthy meals a day, all year long.” There are many ways to get involved with No Kid Hungry Texas, whether that’s educating yourself, connecting and sharing stories/questions, spreading the word about this issue, advocating for kids, donating or volunteering.
The Central Texas Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief charity in Central Texas; they work with food donors, financial supporters and volunteers to end food insecurity. Within the last year, the Central TX Food Bank has donated 54 million meals. This organization recognizes the impact hunger has on people from all walks of life, especially working families, retirees, grandparents caring for young children or the chronically ill. There are several ways to get involved with the food bank including donating financially — every $1 donated is matched and provides eight meals to a family. Other ways you can get involved are through volunteering, fundraising, advocating, donating food or shopping at a local store for a family.
The problem of food insecurity among children is harrowing; thankfully, there are several local organizations committed to solving the problem. Make sure you do your part by donating or volunteering to help these organizations in their fight to end child hunger!