In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, 22 million children across America have lost access to the nutritious school meals they depend on, according to estimates from No Kid Hungry, a national anti-hunger organization. Nestlé Pure Life, a brand of Nestlé Waters North America, Stamford, Conn., is supporting No Kid Hungry with a $1 million contribution to help ensure families remain fed and hydrated during the crisis.
As part of this collaboration, Nestlé Pure Life helped build and is raising awareness of No Kid Hungry's Free Meal Finder — a new online resource that helps families find free meals near them — through a new public service announcement (PSA) featuring WWE Superstar Titus O'Neil.
"Food insecurity during COVID-19 is a pervasive problem affecting many of the communities we serve. Its impact on youth and families has been significant," said Yumi Clevenger-Lee, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Nestlé Waters North America, in a statement. "That's why we are so proud to support No Kid Hungry, which is working tirelessly to fulfill a critical need during this challenging time. We hope that by working together, along with the powerful voice of Titus O'Neil, we'll be able to extend the reach of the Free Meal Finder tool and further assist families in need."
The Free Meal Finder is a digital map designed to help families with children who depend on school meal programs to access three meals a day during this crisis. Any family in need can use this online tool to find food distribution sites organized by schools and local community organizations. The service is free, available in both English and Spanish, and will be updated regularly to help ensure families have consistent access to free meals.
"Nestlé has been a longstanding supporter of No Kid Hungry and our work with Nestlé Pure Life on the launch of our new Free Meal Finder digital map is the type of collaboration that makes a tangible difference during this crisis," said Jill Davis, chief revenue officer at Share Our Strength, the organization behind the No Kid Hungry campaign. "Their pivot to create a national PSA about this resource will help ensure families across the country know where they can find free meals in their communities."
To spread the word about the new tool, Nestlé Pure Life has repurposed national TV media to create and air a new PSA, featuring O'Neil, a WWE Superstar who struggled with food insecurity during his childhood. The PSA will run nationally starting April 20. The PSA focuses on raising awareness of No Kid Hungry's Free Meal Finder, a response to the widespread school closures that have left some families without access to healthy meals. O’Neil has made it his life's work to affect transformational change to lift families out of poverty, and he has previously worked with Nestlé Pure Life to help kids and families make healthy choices.
"This cause, ensuring no kid goes hungry, is truly personal to me," O'Neil said. "I believe that no child should have to worry about when they are going to be able to eat. It is my hope that the resources communicated in this PSA can help lift this burden from kids and their families."
Parents and caregivers nationwide in need of free meals for children can visit www.nokidhungry.org/help to find meals near them. Others can help by spreading the word about the Free Meal Finder tool, or visiting NoKidHungry.org to make a donation to support the organization.