Located on the junction of the Interstate 5 and Highway 14 is Children’s Hunger Fund (CHF), which nestles between the yellow, brownish foothills that lead to Santa Clarita. The drive to CHF ends in an industrial, office-complex space along northern Balboa Boulevard, in what people know as Sylmar, which is about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Yet the heart and work of this organization belie its rather nondescript location. CHF is a Christian nonprofit with the mission of delivering hope to suffering children by equipping local churches for gospel-centered mercy ministry. Per its name, Children’s Hunger Fund most tangibly fulfills its mission through the delivery of meals to families in need and equipping local churches in an international network in order to build relationships and support communities for those families.

The Numbers

CHF operates in at least 24 mercy-network countries. There are seven countries in North and Central America, two countries in South America, seven countries in Africa, four in Eastern Europe and four in Asia. Since its founding in 1991, CHF served approximately 1,055 churches. In 2017 alone, the nonprofit delivered approximately 44.1 million meals across 503 international churches and 271 domestic churches in the organization’s network.

The Volunteers

At the nucleus of CHF’s worldwide impact is its volunteers who put in over 70,000 hours and packed over 90,000 Food Paks in 2017. Each food packs can provide up to 48 meals worth of food. Besides packing boxes of food, volunteers help with a variety of projects, such as packing bags of beans, macaroni and lentils in a packing facility at Children’s Hunger Fund’s headquarters. They also sort through gift-in-kind (GIK) products from Costco to give to local churches.

Volunteers, led by Children’s Hunger Fund staff, come in for two-hour-long shifts between Wednesday and Saturday, whether they come on their own or with their church, school or business. Volunteers can serve in a variety of ways, especially if they do not live near CHF headquarters in California or Texas.

For example, around 100 high school and college students in Johnson City, New York met at their local K&K The Old Tea House for bubble tea, music, board games and socializing. Organizers of the event sold wristbands and donated proceeds to Children’s Hunger Fund.

In August 2019, volunteers from Zion Lutheran Church in Texas organized a project to package approximately 3,000 boxes providing around 144,000 meals. Children’s Hunger Fund achieved that calculation from the fact that $0.25 translates to one donated meal.

The International Mission

With over $80 million in donations and gifts-in-kind, Children’s Hunger Fund generates and distributes Food Paks that start a relationship. The Food Paks specifically offer churches an open door to pray, serve and minister to these families and invite them into the network of support and hope. The hope is that these Food Paks can start the process of providing for the material, social and spiritual needs of those in poverty and hunger.

Education through the Poverty Encounter

Beyond its work and mission, CHF’s most recent development is the Poverty Encounter, which provides visitors with an interactive encounter with poverty around the globe. The 90-minute tour takes visitors through four different countries including Guatemala, Haiti, Nepal and Romania. In each room, visitors receive experiential education on four different aspects of poverty. Learning about hunger in Guatemala, visitors follow the life of a young boy living in a landfill. To explore disaster in Haiti, children share stories in the wreckage of the earthquake in 2010. The injustice in Nepal shows through children slaving away in brickyards. Finally, visitors witness hope in Romania, where children must live in the sewer systems of cities. The tour ends with giving visitors the opportunity to volunteer, packaging beans or macaroni in CHF’s packaging facility.

CHF’s international work, its army of volunteers, partnerships with corporations and ventures into poverty education all speak to its overarching mission to FACE poverty. FACE stands for feed, aid, connect and equip where it feeds families in need; aids those families with hygienic, educational or other material supplies; connects those families to a local church and support network and equips churches to meet these families needs.

Children’s Hunger Fund is always looking for volunteers. These efforts show that sometimes it only takes 25 cents to make an impact. Anyone can join the fight against poverty and hunger.

– Luke Kwong
Photo: Flickr

nonprofit organizations
In the modern world, there are a multitude of companies and organizations dedicated to certain causes, markets and world regions. Companies can be categorized under two main types: for-profit and nonprofit. For-profit companies are focused on making money, while nonprofit organizations are focused on spending money.

Typically, for-profit organizations direct their efforts to making a profit for their officers, members or directors. If they are a publicly-traded company, then the executives are responsible for turning a profit for the shareholders. For-profit organizations are usually required by law to pay both federal and state taxes.

Examples of for-profit companies and organizations include Apple, PepsiCo and Google. These companies make consumer electronics, bottled beverages and specialize in online search engines. All of these companies are publicly traded corporations and earn money for their stockholders and directors.

For-profit corporations are prevalent in people’s lives. Many for-profit companies heavily advertise their products which are used by people all over the world. However, despite having less market exposure and recognition, nonprofit organizations are also extremely important.

A nonprofit organization is defined as a “a group organized for purposes other than generating profit and in which no part of the organization’s income is distributed to its members, directors, or officers.”

Instead of exerting efforts to make money for themselves and their stockholders, nonprofit organizations are focused on spending money to help a particular group or cause.

An example of a nonprofit organization is a church. Churches typically are financed through donations and spend their money on spreading their religion or contributing to causes that could positively impact people’s lives.

The World Food Programme and Planned Parenthood are other examples. Planned Parenthood dedicates its funds to better women’s health through education and to advocate for public policies that are aligned with its mission. The World Food Programme, which is partially funded by the United Nations, dedicates its budget to the procurement of food for communities that have been plagued by disaster.

Typically, nonprofit organizations are not traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Instead of being responsible for responding to those who own the company, they elect to distribute the money to certain causes.

Not all nonprofits are required to pay taxes. Those that apply and are approved to be registered as a “501-c organization” are not required by law to pay taxes.

– Erin Logan

Sources: CNN, Encyclopedia, Society for Nonprofits, Cornell, IRS, Planned Parenthood
Photo: UCONN