*provides one (1) month of food support
There are an estimated 1,429 food-insecure children in elementary school in Washington County. But sadly, not all of their families may be eligible for support from traditional food pantry systems or for school meal programs. In fact, it is estimated that 471 of those hungry elementary school children (and their families) may not qualify for the programs they desperately need. It's unfathomable to think of young children going to bed hungry, yet alone the fact that only 2 out of 3 are actually getting the food and help they need.
We anticipate that the numbers of children falling through the cracks of the traditional food banking system will only continue to rise as the US Department of Agriculture plans to terminate the federally funded free breakfasts and lunches program on June 30, 2022. This is an added expense for families that they have not had since early 2020.
In recognition of these 471 children that may not receive any help in Washington County, Food Helpers launched the 471 Kids Challenge. The goal of the 471 Kids Challenge is to raise $471,000 by December 1, 2022 to support our food programs and educational programs to make real progress towards ending hunger for these forgotten children.
The 471 Kids Challenge powered by CNX Foundation identifies children in need and raises funds to feed more families across Washington County. To jump-start fundraising efforts, CNX Foundation has agreed to contribute the first $100,000 which will support 100 food-insecure kids. Up to $135,000 additional funds raised through the challenge will be matched by CNX Foundation to encourage continued donations.
“Reflecting one of the Foundation’s key pillars, our continued partnership with Food Helpers addresses food insecurity for the populations that might otherwise be overlooked,” said Audric Dodds, CNX Director of Community Relations and Executive Director of CNX Foundation.
CNX Foundation and Food Helpers are working together to increase food security for the children ‘left behind’ by food assistance programs. Among the 28,000 people facing food insecurity in Washington County are 471 elementary school children without resources, support and access to food. Referred to as the ‘invisible population,’ one out of every three food-insecure children belongs to families who may not qualify for government supported food pantries, but do not have enough financial stability to provide food on a consistent basis.
“Children in our community are at a disadvantage by government food assistance programs beyond their control, and the 471 Kids Challenge Powered by CNX Foundation alleviates that barrier,” said George Omiros, CEO of Food Helpers. “Our goal is to make sure no child goes to bed wondering where their next meal is going to come from.”
Fundraising for the 471 Kids Challenge begins in June and continues through the end of the year until a sufficient amount of funds are raised to feed every child. Progress can be tracked in real-time on the 471 Kids Challenge hub throughout the duration of the challenge.