Volunteering expertise (and more) for hunger relief

By Kerry Sullivan |  Dec 18, 2015

Hunger is a symptom of poverty— one that 48 million Americans are faced with each year. Many Americans who struggle with food insecurity are hard-working individuals who still face challenges supporting their families in the face of rising critical expenses. Tracy and her husband are one example. The parents of three children, they work hard to maintain their home in northern Rhode Island and provide a good support system for their children. Tracy’s husband has a job that pays well, but one of their sons has a disability, which prevents Tracy from working. The family often finds themselves facing challenges affording food, on top of rising housing and health care costs. In these moments, Tracy turns to the Rhode Island Community Foodbank, a Feeding America member food bank that serves food insecure individuals and families in Rhode Island.

We partner with the Feeding America network of food banks to support families like Tracy’s who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and who can’t begin to think about their long-term financial stability and future. Our employee volunteers also provide skilled support of Feeding America food banks that go beyond the provision of food to try to tackle poverty at the source.

In fact, our employees are an active resource for students of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank’s Community Kitchen program, which provides culinary job training to unemployed and underemployed Providence-area residents. In addition to job training, Community Kitchen provides financial counseling through another local nonprofit, Capital Good Fund, so that graduates are able to manage their paychecks and build a foundation for long-term growth. As part of our partnership with the food bank, Bank of America volunteers conduct mock interviews to help students prepare to enter today’s competitive workforce. To date, the program has graduated 505 students, 90 percent of whom have landed jobs in the restaurant industry.

Bank of America is also partnering with Feeding America as the exclusive sponsor of its fifth annual Give A Meal program. Through this partnership, we aim to extend the impact of donations to Feeding America, enabling the organization to help more families across the country overcome short-term financial challenges and achieve long-term financial stability. We encourage employees from both organizations, as well as friends and family, to join us in the fight against hunger this year. Together, we can increase access to affordable food for families in need around the country, and build stronger, more vibrant communities.

*Kerry Sullivan is the president of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

This article originally appeared on FeedingAmerica.com Content may be produced by outside parties not affiliated with Bank of America. Opinions or ideas expressed are not necessarily those of Bank of America, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, U.S. Trust or Bank of America Merrill Lynch, nor do they reflect their views or endorsement. These materials are for informational purposes only. Bank of America, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, U.S. Trust and Bank of America Merrill Lynch do not assume liability for any loss or damage resulting from anyone's reliance on the information provided.


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