They may be lost to many but they are not forgotten by this Bay Area-based nonprofit, Moms Against Poverty. Children facing hunger are often not seen, especially in affluent areas of the country like California, and D.C. At Moms Against Poverty, they make it their mission to “nurture and educate underprivileged children to their fullest potential so that one day they can contribute and lead within their own communities and break the cycle of poverty.” With the support of their donors and partners like the Latter-Day Saints Charities, they have been able to help over 2.5 million children and families across the globe with an emphasis on hunger relief and basic provision aid right here at home in the U.S.
As an organization helping support children’s needs, what sets Moms Against Poverty apart is their holistic approach to serving the communities they support. “It’s always a dance when you are dealing with the needs of people, all of whom have different circumstances,” said MAP Principal Founder and CEO Delfarib Fanaie. “As an organization, we may have one goal in mind at the start but as we speak with communities, with schools, with shelters, we find that what people really need to get through everyday life is varied. With that in mind, we simply said that our goal is now to ‘fill the gap,’ and provide whatever is needed as quickly and as seamlessly as possible.”
According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, some thirty-eight percent of children in the United States are part of low-income households and one in five are poor. According to FeedingAmerica.org, in 2020, nearly 12million children face hunger and a family of four may need additional meals a month simply because they don’t have money to buy enough food. MAP works with 31 schools, shelters, and volunteer organizations in California and 39 across the U.S. to address nutritional and basic needs gaps for children who fall into these categories.
One such relationship is with the Castro Valley Unified School District, and Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi, who has worked with Moms Against Poverty going on four years now.
“The support Moms Against Poverty has provided our district has made a huge difference in what we have been able to offer families who need support, ” said Ahmadi. “We have had some other partners in the past, but working with Moms Against Poverty is a wraparound package. Food, hygiene, washers, and dryers, really whatever we need are provided. We have an ongoing communication line open with them at all times.”
Superintendent Ahmadi continues, “Moms Against Poverty is supporting three school sites, including washer-dryer units so that families can come in, get the food, toys, and basic goods they need as well as be able to wash the family’s clothes. Something unique about working with Moms Against Poverty, compared to so many other organizations that mean well, and will supply a large donation of food with no plans for storage or refrigeration, is the full solution Moms Against Poverty provides. When we worked with them, they said, ‘we will give you the food, and the freezers, and install everything for you.’ It’s seamless and makes saying ‘yes’ very easy.
Moms Against Poverty’s work with Castro Valley Unified is one example, but the goal holds true for almost every district. There are tremendous needs that economically disadvantaged families can’t meet. But when these families are able to take care of basic needs, the students have a far greater chance to be successful.
In addition to these “resource rooms” Moms Against Poverty has also stepped up with provisions of weekly or bi-weekly food boxes throughout the community. In 2021 Moms Against Poverty fed over 12,500 families, 37,000 children, and provided over 24,000 hygiene items to those in need in California, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and D.C.
“We are packing and delivering food boxes to try to lift some of the weight off of people in the community who are feeling the impact of vastly higher food prices, on top of razor-thin family budgets,” said Ladan Judge, COO of MAP. “Malnutrition in young children has been shown to have a deep impact on cognitive development, so we are doing everything we can to help the kids in our community stay healthy, stay fed and stay on track for a bright future.”