Frito-Lay and Feed the Children have re-introduced the “Building the Future Together” initiative, which provides food and personal hygiene products for families in seven cities across the U.S., including Atlanta.
Building the Future Together program has been in Atlanta for four years and continue to find new ways to give back to the city and other cities across the country.
This year, over 40,000 families will benefit throughout the 2023-2024 school year. The “Building the Future Together” initiative is significant because it eases the financial burden for families in underserved school districts and alleviate childhood hunger nationwide.
In partnership with Frito-Lay, Feed the Children has provided more than 775,000 meals valued at over $12 million through this program. According to Feed the Children, 28% noticed an increase in school attendance among students, 28% reported an increase in student engagement, and 11% observed an improvement in student grades.
Building the Future Together X City of Atlanta
Nikki Jolly, senior manager of corporate citizenship and social impact at Frito-Lay, said they’ve had a history of collaborating with Feed the Children that has been continuously refined to meet the evolving needs of communities.
The Atlanta school district, Jolly said, takes a unique approach to the program.
While many schools have implemented resource rooms that help reduce stigma for students asking for help, Atlanta students have taken it one step further to create the “Building the Future Together Food and Essential Hub” located in the 11 schools, where students and their parents are encouraged to “shop.”
“Student volunteers help facilitate distributing free supplies to their peers, bringing the school community closer and helping to make the program more accessible for everyone,” she said.
Schools in Atlanta have already received three donation shipments from Feed the Children, including the latest this week, according to Jolly. Atlanta schools will receive seven more shipments before the end of the school year.
The program provides, Jolly said, a diverse mix of food and hygiene items that change throughout the year, based on the needs of the school and its students and families. This has included products ranging from pantry staples, like oatmeal and granola bars to personal care items, such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and laundry detergent.
“What makes Building the Future Togetherunique is that all of these items are delivered to school systems at a district level, and they are able to distribute the items as needed to individual schools and students,” she said. “In addition to the families and pounds of food donated, we have also seen an impact from the Building the Future Together program on students’ relationship to their education. For example, 63% of school resource officers saw an increase in school attendance and student engagement.”
Why is this initiative important?
Today 1 in 5 children in America are food insecure, according to Feeding America.
“In 2020, we recognized the growing strain on schools, where teachers and counselors were juggling learning responsibilities with providing essential items like food, bus passes, and clean clothing to their students and families. The pandemic exacerbated these challenges, prompting us to revamp our approach,” she said.
Before the pandemic, 1 in 7 children in the metro Atlanta area were identified as food insecure, said Jolly.
“As a result of COVID-19 and its ripple effects, those rates have increase by around 20%. Children who are food insecure are more likely to struggle in school, and to have growth and developmental issues,” she said. “The program aims to bridge these resource gaps in high-needs communities, particularly in the context of learning and education challenges, to enhance the well-being and opportunities for students and their families.”
This is why, Jolly said, they partnered with Feed the Children to create the Building the Future Together initiative where they crafted a program that goes beyond one-time assistance, offering sustained support through the year to school districts.
“This enables the organization to allocate resources based on their specific needs, ensuring that the support reaches those most in need. We believe children everywhere need many different things to thrive at school, but the most vulnerable kids won’t have the chance to flourish in the classroom unless their basic needs are met,” Jolly said.
Extra expenses during the winter months, Jolly said, like higher home heating costs often force many families to make tough choices about basic needs.
“As a result, there will be more hungry children this holiday season. By working together, we are helping provide access to these resources so families can help stretch their budgets further,” she said.
The program addresses food insecurity, aids families facing economic challenges, and enhances the educational experience for children in these communities. The program provides much-needed assistance to students and their families, helping to bridge the resource gap.
Since the start of the program, Frito-Lay served more than 110,000 families in cities across the U.S. in partnership with Feed the Children and provided nearly 1.5 million pounds of resources since its inception.
“It’s crucial for children to stay in school and stay engaged as that has real potential to positively affect their futures,” she said. “Schools that participate in the Building the Future Together program have shared that there is a 63% increase in school attendance and student engagement, and an increase in student confidence. This allows for more students to complete their education which can result in greater financial stability and independence, not only for the individuals but also for their families.”
For more information, visit https://www.fritolay.com/frito-lay-feed-the-children-serve-nearly-1000-families-in-one-day.