Last year we learned about Food for the Poor’s unique approach to disaster relief. Now, with COVID-19, the charity is facing another emergency situation – one that is impacting its staff here at home, as well.
COVID-19 is providing unprecedented obstacles to the charity's normal programming, but it hasn’t let that stop its efforts to end world hunger.
Food For The Poor focuses on many areas to support vulnerable families. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the charity has shifted much of its focus to the growing hunger crisis and, as we approach winter, housing.
Here are three creative ways that Food For The Poor is continuing to reach those in need by ensuring the safe delivery of supplies, stabilizing lines of funding and more.
1. Providing customized baskets of hope
With the many barriers brought on by the pandemic – like closed borders, economic downturn and job loss – hunger is on the rise, worsening an already deadly hunger crisis. People around the world need food now, and Food For The Poor is providing.
One way the charity’s doing this is with food baskets. But these baskets don’t just provide food. Here are a couple things that make them special:
- A tailored approach. The contents are customized for the destination country and are selected to meet unique needs. For example, a basket in Haiti may include canned fish, rice, beans and cooking oil, while one for a family Honduras may instead have flour for corn tortillas in addition to beans and rice.
- Spreading health and hygiene. Food For The Poor takes this opportunity to share other important supplies and knowledge through additional items like face masks, hygiene kits and pamphlets on COVID-19 preventative measures.
- Providing MannaPack Rice. Food For The Poor is helping to fight malnutrition by distributing MannaPack Rice from partner Feed My Starving Children. This original food formula developed by food science and nutrition professionals helps reduce problems from malnutrition.
Last September, Food For The Poor reported that a shipment of these baskets were delivered to more than 97,000 families in Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua.
2. Partnering to mobilize relief
Food For The Poor has been able to continue some of its more hands-on programming – with new social distancing guidelines, of course.
With the help of a 53-foot tractor-trailer from their partner Matthew 25: Ministries, Food For The Poor took to the road this year to help with COVID-19 relief in Florida. There, they delivered basic necessities and household goods like cleaning supplies.
Later in the year, when Hurricane Laura hit already struggling communities, these tractor-trailers were loaded up again with personal hygiene supplies and other necessities to help families left without electricity, homes or essential supplies in Louisiana and Texas.
Food For The Poor and Matthew 25: Ministries always have safety top-of-mind when delivering aid and have set guidelines in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. For instance, on arrival, pallets are unloaded from the trailers into a community center or similar location, where all items are then repackaged accordingly. From there, volunteers place bags of goods into recipients’ trunks while maintaining social distance and wearing masks at all times.
This isn’t the first time the charity worked with its partner to literally mobilize aid – since 1997, Food For The Poor and Matthew 25: Ministries have partnered to provide thousands of tractor-trailers of aid to those in need. During a year when support is needed most, Food For The Poor has been especially grateful for this 23-year partnership.
3. Adapting fundraising to a new normal
For many, shifting offices into the virtual space was a challenge – now, consider doing the same for an entire event! Food For The Poor is one of the many charities that has successfully made the jump to virtual giving.
It started last July when the charity went virtual for the very first time with something you might not expect – a walk/run for hunger!
Here’s how it worked: Runners and walkers had four weeks to complete a 5K, 10K or a half marathon. They were encouraged to post updates, photos and videos of themselves on social media using #WalkRunForHunger – and those who did had the chance at winning one of the weekly giveaways.
Those who landed in the top ten fundraisers won a custom medal – and the top five also received a $50 Amazon gift card.
The result? The proceeds from the more than 120 participants provided nearly 400,000 meals for families affected by COVID-19 in the Caribbean and Latin America – exceeding the initial goal of 336,000 meals.
But Food For The Poor didn’t stop there. It followed the success of its first virtual event with the National Celebration – We Are One virtual livestream.
The one-night event featured live music from nine-time Grammy nominee Matt Maher, donor stories, videos of Food For The Poor’s impact and details on the charity’s response efforts.
The event raised enough money to provide 5.7 million meals to families affected by COVID-19 in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Most recently, Food For The Poor moved its annual gala online – it held its 21st annual Celebration of Hope Virtual Gala on Sept. 26. Normally focused on housing in Haiti, this year the event focused on the growing hunger crisis.
Despite the fact that this was the first time the gala had ever been virtual, Food For The Poor exceeded its goal of 1.7 million meal – this year, 2.2 million meals were funded for families in Haiti as a result of the event.
It’s clear that Food For The Poor has found unique ways to reach those in need around the world, but this work wouldn’t be possible without the charity’s supporters – and they need that support now more than ever. Let’s explore how to get involved!
Offer your support
There are a number of ways to help support Food For The Poor and its global efforts to fight hunger and other humanitarian crises in the face of COVID-19. Here are a few ideas:
- Hear from Food For The Poor – plan a virtual Lunch and Learn for you and your colleagues and invite Food For The Poor! Find out more about their creative approaches to relief, discuss the challenges of moving virtual and more.
- Support Food For The Poor through your workplace giving campaign. Some campaigns also offer matching gifts – a great way to ensure donations go further to help those in need.
There are many different ways your office can work with Food For The Poor this season to help provide housing and food for those in need during COVID-19. Contact us for more information on how to make this charity part of your workplace giving!