No Child Goes Hungry (NCGH) was featured in this blog before the pandemic, and we thought it would be a good time for an update. Find out what they are up to now and how they are helping congregations (and others) help fight child hunger. We talked with Rev. Kären Rasmussen who runs the program and here are the answers she gave us.
What is No Child Goes Hungry and how have you evolved?
No Child Goes Hungry is a small but impactful nonprofit that works to eliminate childhood hunger- one kid and one meal at a time. I’m pretty much a one-woman 501(c)3 that works at a grass roots levels helping congregations, schools and individuals address the challenges of childhood hunger right in their own neighborhoods.
When I got started, I was giving out about fifteen grants a year to help groups get weekend food backpack programs started or build a Little Free pantry on their street. I thought that giving that many grants a year was pretty good as I do all the fundraising myself.
But then the pandemic hit. I went from giving twelve grants in 2019 to seventy-one grants in 2020 and eighty-one grants in 2021! The need just exploded and I quickly started to pivot and evolve as fast as I could. Applications were flooding in and I started working with so many groups all over the country to try and help kids get fed.
With schools being the primary source of free and reduced breakfasts and lunches for millions of kids in America, I worked with teachers and social workers all over the country to get food to kids at home. I helped sponsor food trucks, refurbish community refrigerators, help groups start community gardens and provide shelving and carts for makeshift pantries to get set up. We all started re-imagining how we could feed kids when the supply chains were interrupted and there were food shortages all over. I helped churches turn their now vacant sanctuaries into food distribution centers and we went from sponsoring a handful of Little Free Pantries to over 100 now all over the country.
No Child Goes Hungry tried to find a way to help as many as we could as fast as we could. So many moms all over filled out applications to help kids on their street. I started using Amazon to send boxes and boxes loaded with nonperishable items that people could use to get the food quickly. On any given day, I have deliveries being made to every part of the country. From Fairfax to Fairbanks, No Child Goes Hungry has made an impact.
How can my group (congregation, community, etc) help fight child hunger?
The very first thing is to check out my website to read about so many examples of what we can do together. We are only limited by our imaginations on how to feed kids every day!
Next, just fill out the application. It’s pretty quick and easy and you will get a reply from me. After I read your application, I’ll try to find a way that we can work together. I do a good deal of teaching and mentoring with people to what is possible or try something new to get food into the hands of a child.
What new projects do you have?
No Child Goes Hungry just published a children’s book, Emilio’s Very Bright Idea. We are very excited about this and just like the donations we receive, 100% of the proceeds from the book go directly to feeding kids. The books is listed on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and several other places too. We also have free, downloadable lessons plans for all ages on our website that help teach people and kids about food insecurity and how to feed kids in their communities.
How does the Faithify project fit into this program?
The Unitarian Universalist fundraising platform, Faithify, has been such an important part of No Child Goes Hungry. Not only does it help with raising important funds to support so many projects, it really introduces NCGH to UU’s all over and the work we do. Faithify has helped inspire people to not only donate, but to see what is possible for them to do in their own communities. Note that No Child Goes Hungry has had several Faithify projects in the past to raise funds.
My congregation isn’t ready to do a project but we want to help, what can we do?
Most congregations share part of their offerings with different social justice groups. No Child Goes Hungry is happy to apply to be one of their recipients. We’ve done this with many congregations or sometimes a congregation will do a special collection to help us out too. NCGH is so happy to receive whatever donations we can to do the work we do.
Wait I want to learn more!
Here are some blogs and videos that you can watch:
- NCGH Partners with Davies UU on Hunger Relief Efforts Blog
- NCGH Supports the Girl Scouts of Ho Ho Kus NJ with Garden Supply Donations Blog
- NCGH Donates Funds for Community Fridge to our Giving Garden in Mableton Georgia Blog
- NCGH Donates 200 Bottles to Happy Cups to Support Fresh Pressed Juice Donations Blog
- NCGH Supports Luther Jackson Middle School Food Pantry Blog
- Little Free Pantries Video (1:44)
- Summertime is Hunger Time Video (1:32)
You can also learn more at the No Child Goes Hungry Website.