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October 17, 2023

How Kids’ Meals and IICF are fighting childhood hunger in Houston

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Article by

Beth Harp

As Published in

PropertyCasualty360.com

Reprinted with permission from PropertyCasualty360.com © 2023 ALM Global Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited, contact 877-256-2472 or asset-and-logo-licensing@alm.com

Houston, we have a problem. Every day more than 50,000 preschool-aged children in the area are unsure of where their next meal will come from. The issue is so exacerbated that in 2020, Feeding America listed Harris County as the number one county in the nation with the highest percentage of children living with food insecurity in highly populated areas.

In 2006 Kids’ Meals, Inc. was founded to fight this insecurity. Kids’ Meals’ mission is to end childhood hunger by delivering free, healthy meals to the doorsteps of Houston’s hungriest preschool-aged children and through collaboration provide their families with resources to help end the cycle of poverty. Today, the team serves an annual daily average of 8,500 children per day in Harris County, filling an important gap before kids are old enough to attend public schools and can get free breakfasts and lunches. On holidays and during the summer, Kids’ Meals has more than 12,800 preschool-aged children and their school-aged siblings on our routes.

Kids' Meals logo

Kids’ Meals is the first and only program that focuses on the direct delivery of meals and food where it’s needed most – the homes and families of preschool-aged children. This puts food directly in the hands of children who might otherwise have insufficient nutrition at a critical stage of development. Kids’ Meals gives every child served better nutrition today, and improved prospects for success in school and beyond.

Partnering with organizations like the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) is crucial to gaining the resources and volunteer hours needed to help end childhood hunger in Houston. Kids’ Meals depends on more than 60,000 volunteer hours (an annual value of more than $1.9 million), an array of community service organizations, and the participation of key food sponsors and private donors. In 2022 alone, more than 20,000 volunteers prepared more than 1.86 million meals. With the support of our partners, like the IICF, for the first time ever, the organization will surpass the milestone of making and delivering 2.1 million meals in one year in 2023.

IICF’s support helped Kids’ Meals provide more than 4,000 meals for preschool-aged children in need. The team helped to build nutritious lunches for children aged five and under with four components: A sandwich (or shelf-stable protein such as tuna or peanut butter), 100% fruit, a snack and juice/milk/water. Of those meals, 84% went directly to the homes of the children who needed them, while the rest were delivered to daycares and schools.

This year, during the IICF’s annual Week of Giving, volunteers will gather at Kids’ Meals headquarters in Houston to once again assist staff with gathering, packing and boxing lunches to be distributed to children in need. This support is fundamental to our mission as we seek to provide access to nutritious food for Houston’s hungriest preschool-aged children and through collaboration provide their families with resources to end the cycle of poverty.

The IICF is a critical partner for Kids’ Meals. Through their volunteering efforts, IICF is actively working to end childhood hunger and poverty in the Houston community. As we celebrate IICF Week of Giving, please join our team in combatting food insecurity by visiting https://kidsmealsinc.org/.

Beth Harp is CEO of Kid’s Meals.

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Reprinted with permission from PropertyCasualty360.com © 2023 ALM Global Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited, contact 877-256-2472 or asset-and-logo-licensing@alm.com

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