Summertime Can Be Hunger Time
In the United States, 22 million kids get free or reduced-price lunch during the school year. The programs are an essential source of food for many children. However, during summer vacation, only 16 percent of kids who need USDA-funded summer meals can access them, making summer the hungriest time of year for too many children, resulting in long-term consequences.
Many of us remember fondly summer vacations living easy, breezy, carefree days. However, for too many children, summertime can be hunger time. Even though schools are back in session and kids have access to free and reduced-cost lunch programs again, teachers and social workers are seeing firsthand how challenging it is for many parents to feed their families, especially those still out of work and struggling to recover from the pandemic’s economic consequences.
This summer, No Child Goes Hungry is committed to supporting local schools, community organizations, faith-based groups, and grassroots non-profits committed to providing childhood hunger relief in their communities. We’ll be reaching out to little free pantry owners, backpack programs, and other generous organizations to help keep them stocked with the food and supplies they need to keep our children fed until schools re-open their doors this fall.
NCGH is dedicated to the elimination of childhood hunger, one kid, one meal at a time. With funds donated by churches, private organizations, and individuals, NCGH works with faith communities and other organizations to alleviate hunger locally.
Over the past several months, we have begun partnering with heroic organizations to make preparations to ensure continual student meal support over the summer. Some of our current partner programs include:
Peyton Randolph Elementary School PTA’s Food Pantry
NCGH provided a grant of $1,500 to the Payton Randolph Elementary School to use in a match fundraising drive that raised $4,000 more for a total of $6,500 for the program. With the dollars raised, the PTA now has enough funds to offer food weekly for several months. Rev. Kären Rasmussen first heard of the Randolph Elementary School from her colleague, the Reverend Amanda Poppei. Amanda is the senior minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington, Virginia. Amanda heard about the much-needed work to feed kids in Arlington from Bethany Zecher Sutton, the Randolph Elementary School PTA’s Food Pantry Coordinator, and made the introductions all around. Read More.
“I’ve known Kären for years and have watched her organization grow—especially in the way that she is able to support hyper-local groups as well as bigger non-profits,” said Rev. Poppei. “When Bethany told me about the growing need to feed kids right in her own neighborhood, I just had a feeling these two could collaborate and combine their efforts.”
NCGH Helps Sponsor Intern at Blackburn Community Outreach
NCGH provided a $1,000 grant to Blackburn Community Outreach in Todd, North Carolina, a non-profit 501(c)(3) with a mission to engage and mobilize the Todd Community for social, economic, and environmental vitality. The grant will help financially support the season’s youth apprentice in the organization’s Beatitude Garden. This year’s summer intern, a 16-year old young man named Bebo, who is of Cherokee heritage, will work as an intern in the gardens for ten hours a week for 20 weeks this season.
The YMCA of Walla Walla, WA
NCGH provided a $1000 donation to the Young Men’s Christian Association of Walla Walla (the “Walla Walla Y”). The funds will be used to purchase snacks and juice for children participating in its newest summer enrichment program in Athena, Oregon. The Walla Walla Y serves 13 rural communities in Washington and nearby Oregon, where over 15 percent of the families are below the poverty level, and over 60 percent of the children qualify for free and reduced lunch programs. For seven to nine weeks each summer, when school is not in session, the Walla Walla Y offers week-long enrichment programs that nurture children ages 5 to 14 and support their cognitive, social, and physical wellbeing. The Walla Walla Y provides nutritious snacks and meals for the children during each day of the program. Read More.
Camelot Elementary School
NCGH supplied non-perishable food items and a shelving storage unit to Camelot Elementary School in Annandale, Virginia. Some may say, “practice what you preach,” but when NCGH Founder and Director Rev. Kären Rasmussen says it, she takes it to heart. When Rev. Rasmussen leads worship in her community, her sermon’s message invites listeners to connect with their local school and see what they need to help feed their kids. Rev. Rasmussen decided she needed to practice what she preaches, so she reached out to the school two blocks from her home to ask how she could help support the food insecurity needs of students’ families. She worked with Rebecca Stebbins of the Camelot Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) Food Pantry on behalf of No Child Goes Hungry to provide much-needed food and new shelving for their school’s food pantry. Read More.
Still, more help is desperately needed. The need is vast, and it continues to grow. We feed kids, one meal at a time. It matters. Every meal matters.
NCGH provides grant money and mentorship opportunities so that community organizations can build hunger advocacy programs that will thrive and grow as their communities continue to tackle the problem of local food insecurity. Such sustainable programs include afterschool backpack programs, little free pantries, community food pantries, and donation programs.
NCGH also strives to educate the community on food insecurity issues and arm people with the knowledge to help. NCGH offers age-appropriate lesson plans to help local organizations to talk to people of all ages about the issue of food insecurity, helping to fuel future generations of childhood hunger advocates. The lesson plans are designed for schools, churches, or any group that would like to learn more about what they can do to eliminate childhood hunger in their community and are available to use at no cost. Lesson plans are available for Preschool-Kindergarten, Grades 1-3, Grades 4-7, Grades 8-12, and Adults.
Let’s Feed Some Kids!
Help Create a Brighter Future for Vulnerable Transylvanian Girls
DISASTER RELIEF CAMPAIGN: ALL donations will be processed immediately
(NO ALL-OR-NOTHING GOAL FOR THIS CAMPAIGN)
Background. At the height of nationwide lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, up to 1.6 billion children were affected by school closures, causing the largest mass disruption of education in modern history (Source: UNICEF). Many schools around the world, including in Romania, remain closed or experience intermittent closures, making remote learning essential to children’s education. Although Romanian authorities promised to ensure that all children have the necessary devices to join the online educational system, the distribution of devices has often not reached children from vulnerable groups.
What will the funds be used for? In times of crisis, access to digital technologies is critical. The International Women’s Convocation has teamed up with the Unitarian Providence Charity Organization to provide electronic devices (laptops) for girls who are disadvantaged or living with disabilities – from both rural and urban areas – so they will be able to attend school remotely.
Vulnerable girls cannot afford interruption in their education. Disruption to learning only exacerbates existing inequalities, leaving girls even more vulnerable to abuse, early pregnancy, and poverty. With your help, we can provide access to education for girls who may not otherwise have the chance in a COVID-19 world — and ensure that they have the choice to write their own futures. Thank you for your support!
Project Partner: Unitarian Providence Charity Organization, whose mission is to fulfill the vocation of the Hungarian Unitarian Church by serving people and communities in need without discrimination. The project benefits economically disadvantaged girls and girls with disabilities in Transylvania. Through this project, we are living our U*U values, bringing positive change in the world by connection, care, compassion, social justice, and service.
Rev. Attila Vagyas (on the right), Providence Organization (Gondviselés Segélyszervezet): Even though Romania is part of the European Union and thus beneficiary of EU’s social development programs, many are left behind. Our organization reaches many isolated rural communities, where we have gotten to know vulnerable girls full of potential. In these troubled times, when remote learning is the new normal, access to a digital device has become a matter of access to basic education – and an opportunity to make the most of one’s life. With your help, we can give some of these girls a hope for the future.
Some of the Beneficiaries
Insulated Coveralls for the Homeless
At Grenfell Ministries we are a Unitarian Universalist outreach in Hamilton, Ontario.
Due to assistance from Cantex Distribution (a company in Niagara) we have been able to secure a really great deal on quilted, insulated coveralls and instead of paying $250 a pair we are able to pay $40 a pair. With four thousand dollars we can put 100 of these on the street for folks suffering this winter with homelessness. We have already place 25 into circulation and have ordered 30 more.
Grenfell Ministries, a Unitarian Universalist faith-based Ministry that aims to provide support to marginalized communities through programming that focuses on seniors, youth, those experiencing homelessness folks who use substances, and those who are or were formerly incarcerated. We serve with integrity, compassion and promote individuality and self-empowerment. We are committed to building communities through advocacy and activism.
We are a peer-run, peer-led organization that strives to improve the quality of life for those we serve on their terms. In solidarity, we offer organized voices of lived experience in the hopes of encouraging programming, policy adaptation and to reduce stigma and discrimination. We collaborate with various organizations and services to assist folks with meeting their needs and offer grief support to families who have lost loved ones to the overdose epidemic on an individual and group basis.
Our projects have received funding in part by the Fund for Unitarian Universalist Social Responsibility, United Way Phase 2 and Phase 3 Funding for COVID-19 pandemic response and the Hamilton Community Foundation.
Nashua Host Home Network
STRETCH GOAL ADDED! SEE DETAILS BELOW
Help Inna stay in the US and escape persecution
Inna is from Cameroon and has been in the US since 2015. She is currently in deportation proceedings and is seeking asylum.
In Cameroon, a local chief asked Inna to marry him. He already had more than ten wives and many children. Inna refused. As a result of her refusal she was subsequently the victim of physical assaults by masked men, loyal to the chief. During one of the assaults, masked men threatened to rape her daughter. In 2015, Inna fled to the US.
In the US, she earned a Certificate as a Nursing Assistant in September 2016 and started to work in an assisted living community. She also volunteered at a nonprofit that runs a food pantry and secondhand store. In 2018 she began paralegal studies at Mount Wachusett Community College. In 2019, due to being misadvised regarding her deportation case, she did not attend a court hearing.
ICE detained her at the border, and put her in jail, where she spent the next 7 months.
A coalition of local New Hampshire immigration support groups and faith organizations, including UU Action NH, The NH Conference United Church of Christ, the American Friends Service Committee, and Never Again Action, are supporting Inna. They helped pay her bond. A local family invited her into their home, where she is now staying. Inna hopes to get a work permit, finish her paralegal studies, win asylum, become a US permanent resident and eventually become a US citizen. She also wants to bring her daughter to the US.
After her experience with incarceration, she also wants to devote herself to helping people in jail. But to accomplish her goals, she needs to resume her asylum case, and eventually win.
Inna’s legal fees will exceed $10,000. Local donors have stepped up with over $3000 already, but more is necessary in order to restart and complete her asylum case. Inna needs your help. We are compelled by our faith in peace, liberty, and justice for ALL, to support asylum seekers like Inna. Anything you can give would help greatly. Any money raised that goes beyond Inna’s needs will support other asylum seekers in New Hampshire.
Assist Iowans Recovering from the Derecho
DISASTER RELIEF CAMPAIGN: ALL donations will be processed immediately
(Please see Update tab for more information)
Low-income apartment building destroyed by the storm
No one expected hurricane force winds of up to 140 miles per hour to blow through Iowa August 10. While many members of People’s Unitarian Universalist Church had no power for a week and damage to their homes and trees, they are most concerned with those who had lost their homes, particularly those most vulnerable.
Immigrant resident shares his story of the storm
Low income families, including immigrants and refugees spent a week in tents after their housing was destroyed. Still homeless, this population faces food insecurity. In addition, some families have lost all the contents of their homes when a roof blew off their apartment building.
Our Faithify campaign promises to provide relief by directing all of the money pledged to non-profit organizations in the community hit by this storm that ravaged one third of Iowa. These organizations include the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program, the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund, and the CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank, as well as the food bank of the People’s UU Church. The funds will be distributed where there is the most need. We invite all to open your hearts and reach out to those in such dire need.
Unitarian Universalists lend a hand with a lunch distribution
How is this project connected to UU?
Our principles inspire us to reach out to others with justice, equity and dignity, to strive toward peace and liberty for everyone, and recognize that we are all a part of an interdependent web. We cannot ignore the deep injustices and indignity of those most in need made worse by an unexpected storm of unprecedented magnitude.
The People’s UU Church in Cedar Rapids started their own food pantry to address food insecurity in the community. This congregation also and has long-standing associations and support for both the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program and the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund. Nearby in Coralville, the UU Society regularly sends volunteers and financial support to CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank.
Bring the Biking Back to Crystal
Rev. Crystal Zerfoss has been faithfully serving the UU congregations in Pasco, WA and Juneau, AK since being ordained in March 2019. Due to the freak-accident causing a traumatic brain injury, she’s had to resign her ministry positions to exclusively focus on healing. I’m not going to sugar coat it. It’s been slow going and riddled with migraines. The pandemic has added to the isolation and complications.
As part of her therapy, her medical team recently okayed the use of a stationery bike. Her friends and family gave a whoop of excitement, because this is not just about exercise, but about giving Crystal an important piece of her identity back.
These are pictures of Crystal before the accident:
This is our vision of Crystal on the bike we’d like to have delivered to her:
For those of you who would like to follow along with her healing process, you can sign up for her CaringBridge.