Schools Team Up with Nonprofits to Combat Child Hunger

Suzanne Potter | California News Service
At a drive-up distribution, a Save the Children staff member hand-delivers food to children and families. Photo Credit: Shawn Millsaps/Save the Children

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — COVID-19 has caused a big spike in poverty, and now California has the country’s highest number of children experiencing hunger with 2.2 million kids living in food-insecure households, where at least one family member does not have enough to eat.

Tamara Sandberg, advisor for U.S. food security and nutrition at the nonprofit Save the Children, said the organization has partnered with rural school districts to distribute meals.

“California has seen the highest increase in the number of children living in food-insecure households, with over 860,000 California kids experiencing hunger now compared with before the pandemic,” Sandberg explained.

Volunteers are distributing meals at drive-up locations and are even driving school buses packed with meals out to more remote neighborhoods in Fresno, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Tulare counties. Go to to find out if your school district is participating.

Sandberg noted the program has distributed 9 million meals nationwide since March.

“So here in rural California alone, Save the Children staff has helped distribute about 700,000 nourishing meals for children in some of the state’s most impoverished rural communities,” Sandberg reported.

Next Tuesday is “Giving Tuesday.” People who want to help can text the word PLATE to 20222 to make a one-time $10 donation.

In related news, families that are part of the federal free or reduced-price lunch program will be receiving an extra two months-worth of grocery money via the Pandemic EBT program. Benefit cards will be mailed out before the end of the year.