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Child Hunger Is a Huge Issue in America. I Know What It’s Like.

Here's how you can make an impact.

Hunger is one of those topics that probably doesn’t cross your mind unless it directly impacts you, but food insecurity is a massive issue in America. One out of every six children faces hunger: that’s 13 million children in the United States who may not be able to eat dinner tonight.  It’s important to remember this isn’t a distant problem ― families struggling with hunger are all around us. They are our neighbors, peers and community members, and hunger can be found in every city across the country.

I feel strongly that this is a problem Americans need to tackle together and am proud to work for an organization like Unilever that is working to take action and make progress toward national issues that impact us all. And, every once in a while I like to take a step back and reflect on how I got to where I am in my career. This often brings me to my youth and the difficult moments in my life that help shape who I am.

The larger issue of hunger – especially among children – is deeply important to me, as I was directly affected by it growing up. I spent parts of my childhood relying on food pantries, as my single mother struggled to make ends meet while raising two boys. As a child, you don’t always realize the significance of things like that, but I recall going to the food bank, and the feeling of excitement of filling up our pantry again.  I don’t claim to have gone hungry, but we certainly needed help to get by. Those times were tough on our family, but cashing in those food stamps symbolized hope for us – not despair.  

Despite our struggles, I remember all the love in my family growing up, and the memories we so often made around the dinner table. Since I was fortunate enough to have received the help I needed growing up, I now try to pass on the importance of giving back to my children. When we’ve volunteered at soup kitchens together, my three daughters see the emotional reward of helping people.This is the way we should be as a society: coming together to solve a problem and supporting people in need in order to help them achieve their full potential.

As Executive Vice President of Customer Development at Unilever, my job is to continue to drive Unilever’s business agenda, and direct our partnerships, to serve society in meaningful ways. In short, I work on building trust with shoppers. When it comes to purchasing Unilever products, I want people to know that they’re contributing to a company that invests significant resources in giving back to people and communities in need. Unilever knows that this goes hand-in-hand with business growth and so infuses purpose into everything it does.

The #ShareAMeal campaign, in partnership with Feeding America, is just one of a number of efforts we have in place to tackle food-related issues as part of our larger Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which makes it more meaningful.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to help make a major impact with my work, and hope to inspire others to join our efforts to help solve child hunger. As much as one company can do, changes with issues as big as hunger can only happen with your help. Donate food or volunteer your time; whatever it is, as long as you’re doing something, we’ll be one step closer to ending child hunger in America.

Unilever is a proud partner of Feeding America, and is dedicated to making sure children across the U.S. don’t go hungry. They have donated the equivalent of more than 45 million meals in the past 5 years, and this year need your help to donate 1.6 million more. Learn more about how you can #ShareAMeal by exploring the work Unilever is doing to combat childhood hunger. Together, we can work toward a bright future.

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