By: Alicia Lara Senior Vice President, Impact, United Way Worldwide
When we eliminate hunger, we open a gateway for our children. Children who aren’t hungry, or worried where their next meal will come from, are prepared to learn, to grow and to thrive. That’s why United Way is fighting to end hunger and food insecurity for the 1 in 9 U.S. families who often must choose between buying groceries or paying rent. On this journey, we’re proud to have Kellogg as one of our partners.
United Way steps in when communities ask for our help in the areas of education, economic mobility and health. When we do so, we also count on our partners. For more than 90 years, Kellogg and United Way have worked together to support communities. It’s one of our longest-standing partnerships and our collaboration continues to strengthen as we work together to support families across the U.S. In our hunger-related work, we consider Kellogg a superpower. Kellogg is such a trusted name to families, and when we’re asking to feed someone’s child, trust is everything.
This past summer, we partnered to expand programs that provide free breakfast and lunch to children in Battle Creek, Mich., Dallas, Des Moines, Detroit, Sacramento, Seattle and Jackson, Tenn. These summer meal sites are a lifeline for low-income families who otherwise spend an extra $316 per month on food during the summer. We also partnered with Kellogg’s Froot Loops® at our Battle Creek, Seattle and Detroit locations, promoting anti-bullying efforts through the brand’s United to Be Kind program.
If you’ve never been to a summer meal program, here’s what you might see. Every morning, two young boys ‒ Jamaal and Xavier ‒ excitedly run from their apartment to the nearby Othello Playground in Southeast Seattle. In addition to eating breakfast and lunch at the park, they participate in activities led by volunteers at the United Way of King County program. One day they make jellyfish out of paper plates and another, they plant seeds while learning about photosynthesis. Jamaal and Xavier spend three to four hours at the park every day, time they otherwise would spend home alone while their mother works.
Summer meal programs like the one at Othello Playground are extremely important to communities. They are also challenging to operate. Rural children may not have transportation, urban children may not be able to leave home and walk to the park alone, and families may simply not know of these essential services. Kellogg Company’s support of summer meal sites helps us address these barriers and identify best practices that we share with United Ways nationwide.
For example, this summer:
- United Way of Central Iowa worked with Kellogg to purchase advertising on buses operating in Des Moines and the suburbs to make sure families knew about their summer feeding sites.
- Children in the Sacramento, Calif. area had the opportunity to visit 18 sites for meals and literacy programs.
- In Dallas, mini-grants were given to summer meal providers to help them attract more children by providing fun onsite activities and even better food.
Interested in learning more? Visit 211.org or call 211 from anywhere in the U.S. (and many parts of Canada) for access to United Way services and volunteer opportunities.
Kellogg Note: This week, Kellogg kicks off its annual Better Days campaign powered by United Way to encourage employee giving to United Way. The campaign runs from Sept. 23 through Oct. 15. Our partnership with United Way is part of our company’s commitment to help end hunger by addressing the interconnected issues of food security, climate resiliency and well-being for people, communities and the planet. More information on our Kellogg’s® Better Days global commitment to create Better Days for 3 billion people by the end of 2030 is available here.