6 Caring Groups Feeding People And Fighting Hunger

Despite being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, the United States has a serious food insecurity problem. Millions of American families face the stress of not knowing where the next meal is coming from, or when it will arrive. Fortunately, there are many who are dedicated to combating this. In no particular order, here are some organizations working to make sure that all people get the nutrition they need.

Entering the list at #1 is Lakeview Pantry, one of Chicago’s largest and longest-operating anti-hunger organizations. The nonprofit's mission is to eliminate malnutrition and poverty in local communities by providing sustenance to fulfill people's basic needs; empowering clients to achieve independence through social service programming; and raising awareness of food insecurity and poverty.

Lakeview Pantry distributes nourishing meals through thousands of site visits and dozens of community pop-up partnerships, plus online market orders requested by clients via mobile devices. The organization also employs a team of licensed clinicians, social workers, and supervised counseling students who offer individual, couples, and group therapy, job search support, and crisis intervention.

#2 in our overview is Hunger Free America, a New York City-based, nonpartisan nonprofit. It works to build a national grassroots movement to enact the policies needed to ensure that all Americans have sufficient access to affordable, nutritious food. The organization is also a direct service provider that alleviates poverty by helping low-income families and individuals apply for WIC benefits and SNAP, also known as food stamps.

Hunger Free America lobbies against cuts to nutrition assistance programs, and champions laws such as a mandate for certain schools in New York to serve breakfasts in first-period classrooms. Meanwhile, the group's Food Action Board seeks to empower low-income community members to bolster the anti-hunger movement, helping them develop their leadership, advocacy, and political organizing skills.

Coming in at #3 is the Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation, an independent nonprofit based in Canton, Massachusetts. Powered by the titular restaurant chain, the Foundation's goal is to find ways to provide the simple pleasures of life to kids battling food insecurity and serious illness. It sends financial assistance to children's hospitals and organizations such as food banks, groups running nutrition education workshops, after-school feeding programs, and more.

In addition, the organization funded a program that increases the number of service dogs working full-time in children's hospitals, and another that sponsors school-style proms for hospitalized teens. The Foundation has also committed resources to refurbishing medical areas into bright, comforting spaces, and has been known to dispatch a doughnut-shaped mascot to entertain young patients.

The mission of our #4 entry, Second Harvest of the Big Bend, is to feed the hungry in the eponymous stretch of Northern Florida. Through a network of partner agencies, the charity seeks to educate and engage volunteers in the fight against food insecurity. One of the awareness-raising activities is publicizing information about the problem online, especially on the annual Hunger Action Day.

Volunteers who wish to take part in the alleviation of food insecurity in their communities can pitch in by helping pack boxes at the Second Harvest warehouse, or by volunteering to serve at mobile food distribution events, some of which are drive-through. Children can get involved with addressing the hunger crisis at special Family Night events.

Next up, at #5, is Sunnyvale Community Services, an independent, non-profit emergency assistance agency based in Silicon Valley that focuses on addressing the immediate critical needs of low-income families and seniors. The goal of SCS is that all residents of the surrounding area are safely and stably housed with food on the table, and with access to medical care and services.

The group manages a variety of grocery distribution programs, and provides low-income individuals with rent assistance, security deposits, showering and laundry, backpacks, school supplies, and other vital resources. SCS also offers comprehensive case management, health and wellness classes, and workday trainings geared toward the unhoused.

Finally, our #6 entry is Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, operating out of Brunswick, Maine. What began as a soup kitchen in 1963 soon added a variety of services, including deliveries of groceries to medically homebound clients, and a summer food service program for kids who rely on school lunch for sustenance. Additionally, there's a delivery operation to cover families on weekends, plus brick-and-mortar and mobile pantries and a virtual food drive.

Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program hosts an annual Harvest Dinner featuring local chefs. They are sometimes joined by musicians, writers, or bakers, all of whom support MCHPP's efforts to provide local food-insecure families with access to healthy, reliable nutrition. The organization further accomplishes its goals by leveraging the assistance of volunteers.