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Jordan A
Opening Our Eyes to the Hunger Around Us
Jordan Appelbaum, a high school freshman, expresses thanks for what he has and shares his discovery...
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Jordan A
Opening Our Eyes to the Hunger Around Us

First comes Halloween, then comes Thanksgiving, then comes my birthday, and then comes Hanukkah and Christmas. This is by far my favorite time of year. This is the time of year when I get to sit down, relax, and hang out with all of my family and friends. This time is not only my favorite, but it is also very special to me. This is the time when all of my family comes over at once and we get to talk, catch up, cook, and eat. Thanksgiving is not only a holiday where we get to sit at the dinner table and eat turkey. It is also the holiday where we get to sit down and be grateful for the family and friends that surround us, and we get to be grateful for food that is in front of us.

I have been surrounded with family, friends, shelter, and food for all of my life. It was like I was living in a protected bubble. My eyes were first opened to the hunger that is all around us when I volunteered at the Los Angeles Regional Food bank (LARFB) with my parents and their office. I was speechless. I did not know that people all over L.A. went with minimal food their whole lives. What really got to me was when I found out that a lot of children in the county have been facing and battling hunger since the day they were born. All I wanted to do was help them right away because no person, let alone a child, should have to deal with hunger each and every day. That was when I developed a passion for helping people that are in need.

I have been volunteering at SOVA, a local food pantry, since my amazing experience at LARFB, and my goal is to help educate and to inform my generation of the hardships we may not see that are happening all around us. I am using my social media accounts to help spread the word, and I have been talking to my peers about hunger and ways to get involved and help stop it.

This Thanksgiving when we sit down at our dinner tables, we need to be grateful for the food that is in front of us. We need to think of the people that are less fortunate than us and that cannot celebrate Thanksgiving with all of the food that they deserve.

Here are some ways to get involved and make a difference:

Please always contact your local food bank or pantry to ask what donations would be most helpful to provide.


Jordan Appelbaum is a high school freshman and resides in Calabasas, CA.


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Jamie's Story
El Paso, TX
I served in the U.S. Navy for 10 years.My local food pantry helped my family with food and also...
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Jamie's Story
El Paso, TX

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Manny's Story
Pismo Beach, CA
I've always worked, but right now we must wait for low-income housing to finally have a home. The...
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Manny's Story
Pismo Beach, CA

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For Better Not Worse
FOR BETTER NOT WORSE'S Story
Bringing Bags of Groceries to Children Facing Hunger
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For Better Not Worse
FOR BETTER NOT WORSE'S Story

The statistics on child hunger in the U.S. continue to exist — that in itself is a problem. More than 1 in 5 children in the U.S. are at risk of hunger; among African-American and Latino children, this statistic jumps to 1 in 4. These statistics are real children that are suffering from real problems, and they need real solutions.

FOR BETTER NOT WORSE (FBNW) is a Los Angeles based apparel company that is making a positive impact on child food insecurity. For each item that FBNW sells, we give a bag of groceries to a child in need in the U.S., which we personally distribute during our monthly at FBNW Food Drop events. The Food Drops allow us to meet and get to know the children and families that we directly impact.

The children that show up for the FBNW Food Drops are generally younger and unaware that their families are struggling to feed them. They run around playfully with their bags of groceries while our team chats with their parents to gain a better understanding of their current situation, and how we as a company can do more to help. The stories range from heartbreaking to full-on tear inducing.

We once met a family of 13 who for the last few months were living in a van. The family that consisted of three teens, three tweens, and five elementary-age children were facing hard times to say the least. Their father told us that they were struggling to make ends meet, rent was not being paid, and eventually the family was evicted from their apartment. Living in their van and not paying rent allowed them to put more money towards food. But he was worried that the food was not enough, and that he was putting his family’s health at risk by feeding them cheap fast food, which was all they could afford.

Separately, a single mother of four children shared with us that the stress of figuring out where her children’s next meals would come from was taking a toll on her personal health. Because of her limited ability to speak English, she found it difficult to discover all the programs that are in place to help her family. She worried that one day she may have a heart attack or stroke from stress and said, “What will happen to my children?”

The most heartbreaking of all is hearing stories of parents crying at night after sending their children to bed hungry. These parents feel ashamed, hopeless and defeated. Sadly, it was a story we heard many times.

Children from food insecure households are at a higher risk of developing health conditions ranging from hypertension, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses that stick throughout adulthood. Beyond providing the nutrients necessary for developing bodies, having access to food will increase a child’s likelihood of staying in school. Three out of four teachers say their students regularly show up to school hungry. These children find it hard to focus in class, which results in poor grades and falling behind. The further they fall behind, the more difficulties will arise for them in social situations. Being “hangry” is just one emotion that these children experience; sad, embarrassed, worried, and confused are more debilitating emotions that children from food insecure households experience.

Luckily there are millions of people who care about child hunger and are doing something about it. FBNW is doing its part as a young company to make an impact. On average, we feed 200-300 children at our monthly FBNW Food Drops, with a goal to feed thousands of children every week across the U.S.

Throughout September — Hunger Action Month — FBNW will be volunteering to lend our support to help raise awareness to the issue. We held our September FBNW Food Drop with our partners at the Boys & Girls Club Pasadena which also coincided with our first annual #DayWithoutFood. We went without food for 24 hours on September 1st and urged others to join us to help raise awareness about the hunger issue in the U.S. In exchange for their efforts, we will be giving a bag of groceries to a child in need for each person who participated in our #DayWithoutFood.

We encourage everyone to participate in Hunger Action Month in your own way. Volunteer, spread the word during September and beyond in hopes that together, we can one day put child hunger statistics to bed.

For Better Not Worse

Fiona Chan holds the position of Difference Maker/Marketing at For Better Not Worse.

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David Brearton
David Brearton's Story
Now retired from his 30-year career in finance David continues to support hunger relief through...
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David Brearton
David Brearton's Story

Looking back at Feeding America’s impressive growth during his eight-year tenure on our board of directors — the number of pounds provided to people struggling with hunger nearly doubled between 2006 and 2014 — few would believe that David Brearton had once been “new to the cause of hunger.” Working for Kraft Foods and having just relocated to Chicago, the Canada native’s only stipulation to board participation was that his efforts would help people in need. A thorough education in U.S. hunger soon followed. “Hats off to Kate Maehr, Executive Director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository,” said David, “who showed me her food bank, food agencies and areas in her region. That was the opening of ‘hunger.’ ” The biggest surprise about hunger in America? “How common it was,” said David, “Even back then the numbers were staggering.”

Reflecting on his board service, David was most excited by the Feeding America network of food banks’ innovative efforts to meet the growing demand and provide more food, from 2 billion pounds in 2006 to nearly 4 billion pounds by 2014. And of his board counterparts he is proud that they “were truly interested in people in need.” He continued, “Many members moved on and off the board, but they were 100% focused on helping the people we served.”

David’s work in hunger relief brought him in contact with a wide array of individuals, including Feeding America and food bank staff, volunteers, people in need and other board members. He commented, “All Feeding America CEOs are impressive people. They are incredibly passionate and dedicated to the individuals they serve.” One stands out in his mind: Of former board member Jan Pruitt, he said, “Jan was a classic CEO. Nothing was artificial. She dedicated her life to hunger relief and led a progressive food bank. If any need arose, she would meet that need in any way possible.”

Looking ahead, David is optimistic about the future of hunger relief, citing Feeding America’s successful efforts to secure more produce and rescue more food from restaurants and related channels. In bringing awareness to the issue of hunger, David said Feeding America “communicates people’s stories and brings hunger to life. We are telling the story better and are helping the nation understand that hunger is real, that these are real people.”

Now retired from his 30-year career in finance, culminating in the CFO position at Mondelēz International and Kraft Foods, David continues to support hunger relief through financial donations and his role as co-chair of Feeding America’s emeritus board of directors. Feeding America is incredibly grateful for David’s board service, his commitment to hunger relief and his strong leadership during key organizational transitions including the name change from America’s Second Harvest-The Nation’s Food Bank Network to Feeding America in 2008.

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