The Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB) has received a $50,000 grant from Hunger Is to help solve childhood hunger.
The Albertsons Companies Foundation, doing business as the Safeway Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) announced that Hunger Is, their joint charitable program designed to raise awareness and funds to end childhood hunger in America, awarded more than $4.6 million to fund 110 programs that aim to feed hungry children living in neighborhoods throughout the country.
Hunger Is again invited qualified organizations to respond with approaches to increase access to free and reduced-cost school breakfast, to improve the nutritional quality of breakfast programs, and to expand weekend, summer and vacation feeding programs.
The funds were raised through the Hunger Is fall in-store fundraiser at Safeway and the rest of the 2,300 locations in the Albertsons Companies family of stores in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The fundraiser generated donations through customer purchase of participating products as well as customer donations at the check stand.
To date, Hunger Is has raised more than $18 million and funded 273 programs. Feeding America, a nation-wide network of food banks, including the Redwood Empire Food Bank, was a national beneficiary and a current partner of Hunger Is.
The $50,000 Hunger Is grant will go towards feeding children in the local community living in households that struggle to provide sufficient and healthy meals, including supporting daily breakfast.
Currently only half of the 22 million children in the U.S. eligible for free or reduced-cost breakfast receive this most important meal of the day. Students qualifying for free or reduced-cost school lunch are automatically eligible for breakfast. However, not all schools participate, and some schools provide the breakfast program before school hours, making participation difficult for students who cannot arrive at school early (compared to in-classroom breakfast programs).
As Sonoma County’s leader in hunger-relief, the REFB responds to the immediate needs of 82,000 people facing hunger through 15 programs. The generous grant from Hunger Is will help to provide vital funds needed to fuel the REFB’s Farm to Family School Pantry Program (FFSP), which provides fresh produce, healthy groceries, and nutrition education to families with children in high-need schools. Providing children with foods that will ensure a well-balanced diet is at the heart of our FFSP. This funding will allow the REFB to continue distributing nutrient-dense breakfast foods three times a month, including protein-rich foods such as fresh eggs and 2 percent milk.
“We are so grateful for this generous grant from Hunger Is. It is with support such as this that we are able to ensure adequate nutrition is accessible to the thousands of children in Sonoma County who do not always know when they will eat their next meal,” shared Hillary Jarcik, REFB Director of Development. “Through our Farm to Family School Pantry Program we are able to provide the healthy and nutritious foods that children in our community need to be active and engaged in school, and grow up healthy and strong.”
More information about the issue is available at HungerIs.org, along with simple ways for individuals to donate.