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Kitchen Fighting Global PovertyIn 2015, the U.N. put out a list of Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) to reach by 2030. The focus of these SDGs is to build a better, more sustainable world, inclusive of all countries. While the first SDG is specifically geared towards ending poverty as a whole, the rest of the goals have direct and indirect ways of addressing poverty as well. There are quite a few popular brands in the kitchen fighting global poverty and many are using the SDGs as a guideline for launching campaigns toward ending facets of poverty.

Brands in the Kitchen Fighting Global Poverty

1. Kellogg’s: In an effort toward achieving the second SDG, zero hunger, Kellogg’s launched its Kellogg’s® Better Days campaign. Since 2015, it has donated 2.4 billion servings of food to people around the world suffering from hunger. Among those receiving Kellogg’s food donations have been 3.2 million children. The goal is to feed 375 million people in need by the end of 2030. Kellogg’s also supports Breakfast Clubs in 21 different countries.

2. General Mills: Another cereal brand in the fight against poverty is General Mills. In 2008, CEO, Ken Powell, founded the nonprofit, Partners in Food Solutions. Various other companies have since joined the organization and work together to help African food processors succeed. The goal is to improve food security, nutrition and economic development in Africa. Over 100,000 volunteer hours have been put towards advising these food processors and planning technical or business projects in Africa. Additionally, volunteers from world-class corporations have developed 651 customized projects for their African clients.

3. Nestlé: The company Nestlé has identified a few of the SDGs to target in its sustainability strategy. The third SDG promotes good health and well-being. To support this SDG, Nestlé launched its global initiative, Nestlé for Healthier Kids, with which it hopes to help 50 million kids around the world live healthier lives through nutritional education by 2030. So far, the campaign has reached 27.2 million children. Nestlé also recognizes the need for addressing extreme poverty among workers around the world. As a stride towards SDG 8, decent work and economic growth, Nestlé launched the Nestlé Needs YOUth campaign. The initiative’s goal is to help 10 million young people access economic opportunities by providing them with skills, education and help in making agriculture a more thriving field. Yet another SDG Nestlé aims to help with is SDG 6, clean water and sanitation. Its global initiative, Caring for Water, involves “reducing withdrawals, reusing water and working with others to protect water at a catchment or community level.” Ultimately, the initiative seeks to increase access to safe water and sanitation around the world.

4. Kraft Heinz: With ending world hunger as a pillar of its foundation, Kraft Heinz is yet another brand in the kitchen fighting global poverty. In 2013, it partnered with the nonprofit Rise Against Hunger, which aids in global hunger relief. Kraft Heinz employees have since packaged 15.2 million meals in 30 to 40 countries. Furthermore, the company launched its Micronutrient Campaign in 2001. This campaign resulted in the creation of a micronutrient packet with essential vitamins and minerals, which promotes healthy growth and development in those suffering from hunger. On the 2019 World Food Day, Kraft Heinz employees from around the world included the micronutrient packet in over one million meal packages for families in need worldwide.

– Sage Ahrens-Nichols
Photo: Flickr

Global FoodBanking Network
COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact impoverished communities. The nature of the pandemic is continuing to force many people into unemployment. Consequently, the pandemic has exacerbated the hunger crises among those who already survive on so little.

Interim Executive Director of nonprofit group Oxfam Chema Vera described the pandemic as the final straw for millions of people already struggling to survive through one challenge or another. These challenges stem from conflict, environmental challenges, inequality and a broken food system. Over many decades, this inequitable food system has impoverished millions of food producers and workers. The Global FoodBanking Network, however, is working to combat this COVID-19 hunger crisis with a strategic response.

About the Organization

The Global FoodBanking Network is a nonprofit organization that works in over 40 countries to alleviate food insecurity and hunger. It works with a variety of food banks to offer support and education. It also hopes to create a community more secure in its access to nutritional needs. The network has a variety of corporate partners aiding it in its COVID-19 food relief endeavors. These partners include Bank of America, BlackRock and Kellogg’s.

Additionally, the Global FoodBanking Network served 16.9 million people across 44 countries in 2019. It also supplied over 1.4 billion meals in the same year. Almost all of the countries the Global FoodBanking Network works with are developing economies. The largest areas of focus for the network are the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America at 56% and 27% respectively.

Responding to COVID-19

When COVID-19 received designation as a pandemic in March 2020, the Network released a statement regarding its intentions for food relief the following day. The statement indicated a desire to employ resources to prevent a COVID-19 hunger crisis from struggling communities. The Network’s plan included designating a COVID-19 fund as well as advocating governments and corporations for aid on behalf of local food banks. It also included sharing crisis education with food banks, making them better equipped to handle how the pandemic has impacted food distribution.

A major aspect of the Network’s COVID-19 hunger crisis response plan includes taking account of research. The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic has published this research. The research team worked with The Global Food Donation Policy Atlas to create guidelines to maximize aid potential in food distribution. The study identifies that one-third of all food goes to waste, largely due to legal barriers. The research that the clinic conducted lays out steps to take in order to get more food to communities grappling with food insecurity.

Impact of The Global FoodBanking Network

Furthermore, the study introduced policy initiatives that could apply to several countries. These recommendations include establishing effective and explicit food safety guidelines on a national level. Recommendations also included that governments provide incentives to donate food by making it cheaper than food disposal. Professor Emily Broad Lieb is the faculty director of the Food Law and Policy Clinic. She says that this research represents actions the United States and the international community must take. These should help countries address the COVID-19 hunger crisis more effectively.

Despite the debilitating effects of COVID-19, the Global FoodBanking Network is working towards accomplishing its original goal of fighting hunger internationally. Its efforts combined with the guidance of new research could have important and positive implications on how the nonprofit community deals with food insecurity in a COVID and post-COVID era.

Riya Kohli
Photo: Flickr

Fighting Hunger in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is traditionally known as a flourishing, stable European entity serving as a popular travel destination. Despite its ranking as the fifth wealthiest country in the world, hunger in the United Kingdom is an entrenched problem and the country faces food poverty at an ever-growing rate.

Food poverty, as the Institute of Public Health defines, is “the inability to afford or have reasonable access to food which provides a healthy diet.” Income disparity is one of the major factors causing food poverty.

Low-income families can spend nearly 25 percent of their annual income on food. Upper-class families, on the other hand, may only spend about 4.2 percent on food. These low-income families are not able to buy healthy food such as fruits and vegetables at the rates they formerly could.

As a 2013 Kellogg’s report notes, “the U.K.’s poorest households…are being forced to cut back on fruits by 20 percent and vegetables by 12 percent.” Families who do spend the money on these foods push themselves further into poverty.

Prior to 2013, hunger in the United Kingdom was rarely discussed since the rates were less alarming. With the advent of the benefit sanctions, hundreds of thousands of citizens have become dependent on food banks.

The government has instituted sanctions through the bedroom tax, which states individuals living in a house with one or more open bedrooms will receive less in housing benefits. Other sanctions have forced disabled people to find work they’re capable of doing and have placed sanctions on working poor through the Universal Credit System.

The Universal Credit System works to provide low-income individuals with monthly working and housing allowances. With the government sanctions, however, these individuals are expected to find jobs, more work hours and attend training meetings. If they do not comply, they are subjected to fines.

Government regulations are crucial in combating food poverty, as the number of people living in food poverty keeps increasing. The average annual household food bill in the U.K is projected to cost £357 more by the end of 2017.

The Sustainable Food Cities and the Church Action on Poverty, both of which are British organizations, pressure the national government, as well as the local governments, communities and companies to take more action. Without government intervention, it seems very unlikely any substantial, long-lasting impact will occur.

Sustainable Food Cities incorporated its campaign “Beyond the Food Bank” to call on governments for action. The program insists that there should be conversations regarding wages, healthy food options and vouchers.

While these organizations continue to pressure the government, many charities are directly impacting the lives of those in food poverty.

Maintaining the belief that all children should have a healthy and sustainable breakfast, Kellogg’s is donating “15 million portions of cereal and snacks” to food impoverished people in the U.K. through different programs and food banks. In doing so, Kellogg’s aims to reduce the statistic that “four out of five teachers say some of their pupils are coming to school hungry.”

Kellogg’s is also responsible for partnering with large companies such as Trussell Trust to strategize ways of reducing hunger in the United Kingdom. As a team, Kellogg’s supplies cereal and healthy breakfast options to Trussell food banks, which distribute the food to individuals with vouchers.

Between 2015 and 2016, Trussell distributed 1,109,309 three-day emergency food supplies, which is 196,171 more supplies than distributed between 2013 and 2014. According to Trussell Trust chairman Christ Mould, “Every day we’re meeting mothers who are skipping meals to feed their children, or people forced to choose between paying the bills or buying food.”

In an interview with Emily Dugan, spokesperson for the End Hunger Fast and Mansfield priest Keith Hebden said, “I have never before seen religious leaders so united on an issue and I hope our collective words and prayers reach the ears of politicians who have the power to act.” With non-profit organizations, corporations and religious groups united in the cause, many hope their work and call for government action will make hunger in the United Kingdom an issue of the past.

Kristen Guyler

Photo: Flickr