No Kid Hungry
Food insecurity can affect anyone. Millions of families in America are one emergency away from experiencing hunger. Just ask Detroit-native Victoria Washington, who, in 2017, launched her own cookie-dough business that was thriving. She was selling at movie theaters and ballparks, and even had her own storefront at the local mall. She never imagined that she would one day be struggling to put food on the table for her daughter, Addison.
But then COVID-19 hit, and Washington was forced to shut down her business.
“I wasn’t able to just coast and wait for the pandemic to get better,” she says. “I had to ensure that Addison had her basic needs met during that time.”
A top concern for Washington? Making sure her daughter, who was three at the time, had access to healthy, high-quality food. The alternative, as countless studies have shown, can be detrimental—an iron deficiency in the first few years of a child’s life, for instance, can impact the cognitive, socio-emotional, motor and physiological health, and even change the structure of the brain.
Thankfully our #VBGIVESBACK partner, No Kid Hungry, was there to help provide emergency food distributions in her community. “I am so grateful,” says Washington, who now works in the nonprofit space. “To all the donors and volunteers, thank you for sacrificing your money and time and for trusting the vision behind No Kid Hungry.”
How did things change for you during the pandemic?
Our world came to a halt. We had built our business as a concession, selling at entertainment venues like arenas—that industry was hit hard. People weren’t going out. We had to shut down and think about how to pivot.
What was that like? What were your immediate concerns?
When our business was shut down, it felt like something was taken from me. I was afraid of what would come next and what would be required of me to be able to provide my daughter’s basic needs. The stress of being able to get food—if I didn't have those meals and resources supported by No Kid Hungry, I would have felt very overwhelmed.
Tell us more about that...
The food distribution sites were amazing and very efficient—you stayed in your car, popped open the trunk for them and you were on your way. Not only did this help me save money, but I was able to get access to fresh fruits and vegetables—that was huge.
Addison and I really enjoy cooking and making things from scratch. There's such a tie between food and knowledge—those were the resources I sought, foods that can help her grow developmentally, mentally, and academically and make her body healthy and strong as well. If not for the distribution sites, I would have been forced to make food choices I wouldn't have wanted to make. The pandemic was already a huge stress and, had I not had those resources, it would have been even greater.
Advice to those who may find themselves struggling one day?
It can be very isolating when you’re struggling. I would remind people that the power is in the community. And that sometimes community comes in the form of assistance programs to help us survive through tough times.
“To all the donors and volunteers, thank you for sacrificing your money and time and for trusting the vision behind No Kid Hungry.”
Veronica Beard is partnering with No Kid Hungry to help end childhood hunger. For every purchase on veronicabeard.com between 10/1/23 and 12/21/23, $5 will be donated to No Kid Hungry with a minimum guarantee of $300,000. Learn more here.