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Helping Kids Get Meals They Miss When Schools Are Closed

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Monday, September 21, 2020   

NEW YORK -- With schools closed, many children who depend on free meals at school could be missing out, so children's advocates are partnering with a major media outlet to help ensure kids get the meals they need.

Turn Up! Fight Hunger is a partnership of The No Kid Hungry campaign and Discovery. The goal is to ramp up advocacy, awareness and direct assistance to meet the nutritional needs of hungry kids across the country, including in New York state.

According to No Kid Hungry New York director Rachel Sabella, that need is growing. She said before the COVID pandemic, 1 in every 6 children in the state was growing up in a family that faced food insecurity.

"Now as many as 1 in 4 children in the United States could face hunger this year because of the coronavirus, and New York is no exception," Sabella said.

So far, No Kid Hungry has sent more than $25 million in emergency relief to schools and community groups in all 50 states. More information is available at Turnup.org.

Key to the effort is raising awareness about childhood hunger. That's where Discovery comes in.

Alexa Verveer is an executive vice president at the media group. She pointed out that across its slate of programs, Discovery reaches 25% of American women every day.

"We're able to galvanize the power of our reach and the fact that we have passionate audiences in order to truly make an impact on important issues," Verveer said.

So far, Turn up! Fight Hunger has helped No Kid Hungry connect children nationwide with more than 520 million meals.

Advocacy is another important part of the effort. Programs such as SNAP and P-EBT help low-income families buy the food they need to keep their children healthy.

Sabella said those programs really work and need to stay strong.

"We're going to educate people about the solutions, and we're going to encourage policy-makers to enact policies, to enact budgets that will address this and help families that are struggling," Sabella said.

This fall, No Kid Hungry has committed to investing another $35 million to help schools and community organizations to ensure kids are still being fed despite school closures.

Disclosure: Discovery Inc contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Environment, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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