CHICAGO (WGN) — September is Hunger Action Month and Nexstar Media Group, along with Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization, are working hard all month to ultimately end food insecurity.
It’s no small job and they need your help. It can start by educating yourself on the problem, learning more about ways to end hunger and exploring avenues where you can make a difference.
Feeding America has been helping to eradicate hunger for more than 40 years. A nationwide network with 200 food banks and 60,000 community partners coast to coast.
But this giant hunger relief organization providing 6.6 billion meals this year alone, comes from one great idea and the man who made it happen.
It all started in the late 60s with retired businessman John Van Hangel from Phoenix.
“One day he met a woman, a mother, rummaging through garbage cans in the back of a grocery store,” Casey Marsh, Feeding America’s chief development officer, said. “She said grocery stores often throw away perfectly good food. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a place where we could store this food that is not bad or wasted in order for people to access it?”
And with that, the concept of food banking was born. Van Hangel saw to it, making him the father of food banking and the founder of Feeding America.
Now, more than ever, with COVID-19 stressors at work, the need to feed our neighbors continues to swell. About one in eight Americans are struggling with food insecurity, and 1 in six children.
Nexstar Media Group has partnered with Feeding America and has donated over $2 million in financial contributions and on-air promotions over four years.
“We’re using the scale of the company and the power of Nexstar to really try and make an impact in an area of food insecurity and hunger in America,” Perry Sook, chairman and CEO of Nexstar, said.
Feeding America said the pandemic has forced it to pivot like the rest of society because of massive disruptions in the supply chain and volunteers were sent home to stay safe.
Feeding America is reminding everyone that access to food is a basic right and communities of color are hardest hit.
“We need to reduce the stigma that people facing hunger in this country feel like they are accessing a handout,” Marsh said. “That is a right that they have.”
All month long, we will be sharing stories about the efforts to eradicate hunger in your community. We invite you to watch, and help, so neighbors where you live don’t go to bed hungry.
Head to feedingamerica.org for more information.