It is hard to escape the present reality of our world. COVID-19 has swept our nation pushing us indoors just as spring started to show its face through green buds and small blooms poking through winter-worn soil. All across the country folks are trying to navigate working from home, supporting their children(s) distance learning, unemployment, overcoming loss of business, among countless other factors. In this time, people are stretched thin, instability feels as though it rules our day-to-day, and the disparities within our country are center stage as we see how this pandemic is disproportionately affecting certain communities and populations. The need for health equity is being shouted from the rooftops while families are sending up metaphorical emergency flares in need of daily food sources.
Millions of children across the country are missing essential nutrition received through school meals amid school shutdowns due to COVID-19. In cities like Raytown, Mo., Tonganoxie, Kan., Pasadena, Calif., Memphis, Tenn., and Kanawha County, W.Va., school districts have stopped or scaled back meal distribution to families in need, at least temporarily, as their food service workers test positive or are suspected of having coronavirus. Other school districts are relaunching their services with new safety protocols. While other areas are scaling back food offerings simply because they have run out of money leaving many districts and community organizations looking for partners to keep feeding families. The $2 trillion federal coronavirus rescue package includes $8.8 billion for child nutrition programs, but it remains unclear exactly when or how that will be distributed.
The loss of reliable nutrition for children, not only in the U.S., but around the globe has fractured a source of security for millions of children who take peace in knowing when and where their next meal will be. That is why EnSpice Children’s Foundation (E.C.F.) is bringing its work of nourishing children domestic. Our mission has never been bound to a geographic location, but instead driven by meeting a need. E.C.F. has spent the past three years working to create a Foundation that could support existing meal programs through financial support, nutritional & health education, and programmatic support. Our goal has never been to recreate the wheel, but to support the work already being done by organizations that are established within a community. That is why the Foundation is partnering with Mercy Works, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that owns and operates the Clarence Jordan Vision Center in Syracuse, NY, to support their efforts of feeding 5,000 every weekend in April, which translates to a $50,000 funding goal every weekend. Each family will be provided a food box with a protein, vegetables, rice, beans and additional food items. The Food Bank of Syracuse, NY will source all food. In addition, 100+ volunteers are needed every weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), which requires the provision of personal protective equipment (ppe) for all volunteers and abiding by all guidelines set forth by Governor Cuomo.
EnSpice Children’s Foundation will be giving 50% of all funds raised in April to Mercy Works to help provide food boxes for children & their families over the weekend when many experience the greatest food shortage. The other 50% of funds raised will go to our established program in Madagascar (the Mangafaly School), which has also been impacted by COVID-19. This novel challenge has left staff scrambling to put a plan in place to ensure educational resources and more importantly meals are available for our students while the school is shut down for an undetermined amount of time. This is no easy feat for any school, but it is especially difficult for an area that has limited staff and no available technology like computers and iPads for students. There is no internet, which means Zoom, email and digital classroom are not an option to help bridge the education gap. All materials must be put together by hand and made available for pick up by parents. Staff will be monitoring what parents and guardians are picking up meals each day to ensure no one goes overlooked and undernourished during this time.
At EnSpice Children’s Foundation, when we see a need within our mission field, we work hard to serve that need. Won’t you come alongside us and help us bring a source of stability & security back to our kids? Food is comfort. Food is stability. Food is security. We are always serving more than a meal.
Let’s meet this need together! See the ways that you can give below.
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