Harvesters—The Community Food Network announced it has received a $50,000 grant from Morgan Stanley to fund its BackSnack program, a child hunger initiative that helps ensure elementary students have nutritious food on the weekends and during school holidays.
The grant will be used to help low-income children throughout the region that Harvesters serves.
The local award is the latest phase of Fill the Plate, Morgan Stanley’s long-standing partnership with Feeding America, the nation’s leading hunger-relief charity. In total, Morgan Stanley has committed more than $13 million for the Feeding America network to distribute millions of meals to children and families across all 50 states. As part of that initiative, Morgan Stanley will award more than $1 million each year for the next four years to local food banks like Harvesters to launch, expand and sustain critical childhood feeding programs.
“One in five children in our community is at risk of hunger. We are thrilled to receive this important grant from Morgan Stanley to help ensure more children have enough food on the weekends,” said Harvesters President and CEO Valerie Nicholson-Watson. “What’s extraordinary and groundbreaking about this award is that we were able to choose how to use the funds in a way that best matches the nutritional needs of our community.”
Harvesters’ BackSnack program puts nutritious food directly into the hands of children at risk of hunger by filling backpacks with staples such as peanut butter, milk, cereal, bread and canned goods. With this program, kids who usually get reduced-price or free meals at school receive the nutrition they need even when they aren’t in school over weekends or school holidays.
“Giving back to the communities where we live and work is one of Morgan Stanley’s core values,” said John Ellspermann, managing director, complex manager, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Kansas City. “We are proud of our firm’s grant to Harvesters—The Community Food Network, especially since so many of us also have been long-time volunteers at this important community organization.”
Nationwide, child hunger is a critical problem. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 16 million children in the United States live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. Feeding America’s most recent Map the Meal Gap research indicates more than one in five children in 37 states and Washington D.C. do not have access to enough nutritious food to learn, grow and thrive.