Food insecurity is a pervasive and disruptive issue in the United States. Millions of adults and children go hungry each day because they lack access to healthy, safe, and affordable food. To help fight hunger, this app is feeding low-income families for free.
According to Mashable, Florida-based nonprofit Feeding Children Everywhere launched Fed 40, a mobile app where households in need can order 40 meals at no-cost that are delivered to their home in one business day. The app, available on iPhone and Android, went live in early June, but the nonprofit recently added a new national breakfast program to the menu, Robert Andrescik, FCE's spokesperson, tells Romper.
Families who access Fed 40 will receive 40 servings of red lentil jambalaya, a rice-and-lentil casserole mix that could be used as a base for other meals, along with a few recipe suggestions, the Orlando Sentinel reported. For breakfast, they would receive apple pie oats. According to Andrescik, because households only receive 40 servings at a time, they have the option of ordering 20 packets of each product. He tells Romper.
Our vision is to one day soon offer an entire menu of food options that allows those in need of food assistance to build their online shopping cart of 40 healthy meals that arrive at their front door in about one business day.
According to No Kid Hungry, nearly 49 million people, including 13 million children, go hungry each year in the United States. Feeding Children Everywhere, which started seven years ago, hopes Fed 40 can make a massive dent in those numbers by bringing food directly to households in need, Andrescik says. And not only can families order for themselves, there is also a Pay-It-Forward option on the app that allows people to donate money to Feeding Children Everywhere that will go towards providing meals.
Andrescik tells Romper,
We believe getting meals directly to hungry children and families is a more dignified and effective way to end hunger in America.
So far, Feeding Children Everywhere has distributed more than 36,000 meals through Fed 40 since it launched. According to Andrescik, families who've ordered through the app, whether online or on their phone, can request more meals anytime they need them. If a household requests meals several times, he said, Feeding Children Everywhere will reach out and connect the family with other community resources that can help.
To that last point: Fed 40 is more than a mobile food pantry for low-income households. Feeding Children Everywhere sees the app as a way to "to help address the roots of hunger," according to Mashable. Andrescik tells Romper that, in the near future, the nonprofit plans to add educational tools including a financial literacy course, information on job skill programs, and referrals to services through Fed 40 that can help families in need.
Feeding Children Everywhere's new breakfast program, Breakfast Bites, is also part of that broader effort to end poverty. According to Andrescik, the nonprofit wants to, "disrupt hunger and break the cycle of generational poverty by giving kids the nutrition they need to succeed in the classroom."
There are limitations with Fed 40, of course. Although more and more people are using smartphones, as the Orlando Sentinel reported, there are still hundreds of thousands of families in need without access to a phone or a computer. Fed 40's online ordering system solves that issue in part, by giving families the option of visiting a local library to access the app.
Still, despite the limits of technology, Fed 40 is an innovative way of capitalizing on a service often reserved for wealthy people. The app brings food to the doors of people who need it the most, and that has to be the best use of technology I've seen to date.