Richfield student receives 10 millionth meal

fodd bag containing 10 millionth meal placed in Richfield student's backpack

This November, Every Meal discreetly placed its 10 millionth meal into a student’s backpack at Centennial Elementary in Richfield, marking 10 million meals distributed since we first began. The first meal we gave out was in 2010 to a kindergarten student at Las Estrellas Dual Language School in Northeast Minneapolis. It was a response to one principal saying, “there are kids in my school hungry over the weekend, is there anything you can do to help?”

Today our focus is as strong as it was then – every child should have the food they need to learn and grow. Every day, we aim to ensure that happens. Every Meal specifically focuses on the weekend food gap, when kids don’t have access to school meal programs.

Providing 10 million meals is something to celebrate, for sure. It means we have supported a lot of children in their physical and mental growth, their education, and their self-esteem. This is something to celebrate, but we also must realize that these are children who would have missed 10 million meals, and there are many more children who could miss their next meal. These are children right here in our schools, our communities, and our neighborhoods who remain hungry. Children who face empty kitchen cupboards at home. Children whose parents can’t afford school meals yet don’t qualify for government discounts.

Because of the dramatic increase in need we’re experiencing, Every Meal has had to close some of our programs this year to prioritize our mission to bridge the weekend food gap. We’re seeing a 34% increase in food support over the weekend, exceeding our expected 17% increase. We simply don’t have the funding to buy the food needed to meet that demand. So hungry children remain. Missed meals continue.

To continue to serve these kids – to serve ALL the kids who need it – it takes all of us. It takes all of our community – businesses, government, education, foundations, faith groups, civic groups, and individuals – to ensure all kids enter the classroom ready to learn. It means the government should fund free breakfast and lunch at schools. It means businesses and community groups need to donate and volunteer to support their local community. It means teachers get to teach instead of worrying and buying food themselves for the hungry students in their classroom.

It takes all of us. All of us have made the 10 millionth meal, and the millions of meals before it, and the millions of meals after it, possible. It takes all of us to create a full and positive future for our children. I urge you today – don’t ignore the hungry children in our community – they need every one of us. And we need them.

If you’re able to give, please consider making a donation today to support our mission of fighting child hunger.