Every day, neighbors across the country face food insecurity. In fact, one in eight Americans (41 million), including one in six children (13 million), struggles with hunger at some point throughout the year (USDA).
That’s why we’ve teamed up with Walmart and Feeding America to ignite a deeper discussion at the local level about how communities can work together to fight hunger in America, ultimately helping neighbors in need gain better access to food. In conjunction with Walmart’s “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign, which officially launches today nationwide and runs throughout the month of April, Nextdoor is traveling across the country with Walmart to bring neighbors and local leaders around a beautiful Neighbor’s Table for a meaningful conversation about food insecurity and what can be done at the community level to help.
With so many civically-minded neighbors using Nextdoor to connect their communities every day, we turned to our members to source nominations for neighborhoods that would be interested in helping us host these conversations and learn how we can fight hunger at the local level. We’ve been blown away by the ways neighbors across the country have already been giving back to their communities and raising awareness for the problem of food insecurity.
We kicked off our tour in Charlotte, NC in the wonderful Nextdoor Druid Hills community. Food advocate and community leader, Nadine Ford, stepped up and nominated her community to host the conversation. To Nadine, the issue of hunger is deeply personal. Her longtime home of Druid Hills is located in a food desert in Charlotte, which means the community has minimal access to healthy, affordable food. Nadine has worked tirelessly to bring food to her neighborhood and other underserved communities in Charlotte. For 17 years she served as a health inspector and would often see children and the elderly going without food, or surviving on just one meal a day. So, she decided to spark change in her community and began teaching neighbors how to garden, compost, and eat nutritiously. Eventually, she was able to build a community garden in Druid Hills with the help of the City, which, for the first time, has provided her neighbors with locally accessible, healthy food.
We learned a lot from our time at the table with Nadine, and the two dozen other table participants, including representatives from the City of Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD, Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, CBS Channel 3, Real Simple Magazine, and other Charlotte influencers. It was a humbling and inspiring afternoon that reinvigorated our belief that good things happen when neighbors start talking.
Heading into April, we are excited to visit three other great cities – Phoenix, AZ, Pittsburgh, PA, and Virginia Beach, VA – and Orlando, FL in September to ignite similar conversations and learn from each other about how to create real change for our neighbors struggling with food insecurity.
And, the best part is, you can help! Throughout the month of April (and beyond), here’s how you can spark change in your community and raise awareness for hunger in America:
- Educate yourself – Food insecurity affects neighbors of all demographics and in many different ways. For some, it may mean facing a tradeoff between food and other necessities like water and electricity. For others, it means the family must rely on school lunch programs or food pantries for at least one meal a day. We must first understand the problem to know how to fix it. Learn more here.
- Support a local food bank – Whether you’re supporting with time, donations, or money, there are many ways you can get involved with a local food bank. The best first step is to find out what your local food bank needs most. If time, consider volunteering outside of the holiday months during Spring or Summer when donations and volunteerism typically drop off. If food, try donating fresh, nutritious foods as much as possible. And if money, remember that small amounts can help a food bank obtain more food than a typical food drive collects – just $1 leads to 10 meals! To find the food bank nearest to you, visit feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-food-bank.
- Take part in Walmart’s national campaign – For the month of April, Walmart will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal ($0.10) for every participating product purchased at U.S. and Puerto Rico Walmart stores or on Walmart.com. Participating suppliers include General Mills, The Coca-Cola Company, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, PepsiCo/Frito-Lay/Quaker, Bush Brothers, Clorox Sales Company, Conagra, Motts, Unilever, Maruchan, Pinnacle Foods, Post, and JM Smucker. Walmart will also collect donations to local Feeding America food banks at the register in increments of $1, $2, $5 or an amount chosen by the customer.
- Make some noise – Raise awareness with friends, family, and neighbors by posting on social media about how you are helping #FightHunger #SparkChange in your community. For every traceable post of campaign content with #FightHunger on Instagram and for every traceable share or retweet on Facebook and Twitter of campaign content, Walmart will donate $10.00 to Feeding America. Encourage your network to make donations and volunteer. Every bit helps!
The problem of hunger in America is not going to be solved today. In fact, it might not even be solved this year. But it is important that we continue to support open dialogue among the community members who can create local change. Everyone deserves a seat at the table. Claim yours now and help us end hunger in America!