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How Food Industry Partnerships Protect Children And Families In Crisis


Last updated on October 7th, 2022 at 02:43 pm

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Ruby still remembers the awful smell and texture of the spoiled milk she had to drink when she was 5 years old.  Her family was homeless. Her parents had no income, and feeling hopeless, they broke into an abandoned house to survive.

Ruby remembers how terrifying it was to sleep on dirty floors with glass everywhere and no blankets to keep her warm, and being so hungry she had to drink the spoiled milk from the fridge.

In 2019, 10.5 percent of U.S. households experienced some degree of food insecurity, and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic dramatically increased the number of food-insecure households to 23 percent. Food insecurity for children paints an even bleaker picture: in 2020, 27.5 percent of households with children were not getting enough food to eat, which means that 13.9 million children – like Ruby –went to school or to sleep hungry.

With school closures and many families without jobs and financially struggling to survive, children and teens are stuck in a situation that can lead to neglect and abuse.

Causes of food insecurity that can lead to neglect and abuse

There is a strong link between lack of food and child maltreatment. The causes of food insecurity vary from household to household and causes include:

  • Financial need: Food insecurity is often linked to low-income households and high unemployment rates. Especially during the pandemic, as many Americans lost their jobs, they had to choose between food and other necessities, such as housing, childcare, medicine and transportation costs.
  • Food deserts: A food desert describes an area without grocery stores, supermarkets or other sources of healthy food. Most common in low-income urban and rural communities, food deserts prevent households from accessing nutritious food, resulting in both food scarcity and higher rates of obesity. More than 23 million Americans live in food deserts.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health: Involuntary or voluntary substance abuse and mental health issues can affect a person’s employment and ability to make healthy choices.

Food insecurity is a complex problem and one that is likely to remain an issue for the foreseeable future.  While not a cause of food insecurity, food poverty is more common in certain racial and ethnic groups: Black non-Hispanic households have twice the rate of food insecurity as the national average.  Many needy families do not qualify for federal nutritional programs and at its worst, food insecurity can exacerbate or trigger stress and incidents of abusive behavior or generational abuse that strains families even more.

What happens to children who are neglected or abused?

In many cases maltreatment creates adverse childhood experiences and long-lasting effects such as poor physical and dental health, behavioral issues, mental health problems, academic struggles and other developmental challenges.  Most children and teens that have been removed from unsafe and often abusive situations by the child welfare system come from situations where they have been left to fend for themselves in virtually every aspect of daily living, including the finding and preparing of food.

Children and teens should not have to live in fear of food scarcity. Every year over 3.5 million cases of neglect and abuse are reported and every day five children die from abuse.

But child neglect and abuse does not have to happen.  There is hope.

Make a local impact through cause marketing programs

In 2020, 10-year-old Angel was living in a minivan with his brothers. He was worried about how he was going to feed his siblings and found himself stealing food just so they could have enough to eat. Through cause marketing, Child Abuse Stops Here Network was able to support Olive Crest’s programs that stepped in to transform the lives of Angel and his family and continue to invest in their valuable and life-changing work.

Through partnerships with national grocers and food and beverage companies across the U.S., funds raised support local child abuse prevention agencies, allowing their programs to provide food, safe homes, counseling to kids dealing with trauma and foster and adoption care, all of which set children and families on a course for a healthy future.

Local impact by national grocers, and food and beverage companies

  • Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions along with Don Francisco Coffee, S&W Beans, California Olive Ranch and Toyota surprised Carly Robinson and her two daughters with a new car and a brighter future for their family through the Child Abuse Stops Here Network’s sweepstakes in Southern California.
  • Mission Foods and Child Abuse Stops Here Network ran a national sweepstakes for an all-inclusive Disney World adventure. All proceeds supported children and families in crisis through Olive Crest.
  • Smart & Final, a warehouse-style food and supply store, raised funds through a register campaign for Child Abuse Stops Here Network to support Arizona based agency, Christian Family Care. Additionally, the campaign awarded a family with free groceries for a year through an online giveaway.
  • Kroger/Food4Less Chicago partnered with Child Abuse Stops Here Network to raise funds through a register campaign to support local foster agency, Lydia Home.

Child Abuse Stops Here Network is making an impact across the U.S. to support local agencies through cause marketing partnerships.  Learn how your company can make an impact.

We can change lives together.











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Featured Photo PLMA Annual Private Label Trade Show
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Chicago, Illinois
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