Feeding America battles food insecurity with the help of SmartSimple
The current statistics on hunger in the United States tell a very distressing story that should concern everyone currently living in the country:
● 13 million children face hunger in the United States today
● In 2014, 5.7 million senior citizens - that’s 9% of all seniors in the US - lived with food insecurity, meaning no reliable access to affordable, nutritious food
● Nearly 3 million rural households live with food insecurity
● There are 12 states that show significantly higher household food insecurity rates above the national average of 13.7%, including Mississippi (20.8%), Arkansas (19.2%), and Louisiana (18.4%)
Considering that the US is one of the top 20 of the richest countries in the world, the number of Americans living with food insecurity may seem surprising. Yet, according to Feeding America, the country’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, many Americans are just one job loss or medical crisis away from suffering food insecurity. More than 46 million people turn to Feeding America’s extensive network of food banks each year to help stave off hunger.
Since 2011, and thanks to the generous support of their partner, The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Feeding America maintains Map the Meal Gap on their website. This interactive map of the United States visualizes, county by county, the levels of food insecurity and poverty, the cost of an average meal, and the amount of money needed to ensure food security for every resident.
It’s why the Feeding America network created the Hunger Action Month campaign (HAM) several decades ago. Every September, Feeding America launches the Hunger Action Month campaign to bring awareness to the issue of hunger in the U.S. and encourage people across the country to get involved in the movement to end hunger. Hunger Action Day®, on September 14th this year, is when Feeding America focuses their efforts across the country to make the greatest impact possible in the lives of people in need.
Their work has definitely been paying off. In 2016, the campaign reached more than 3.7 million people organically via Facebook and Twitter, increasing awareness and generating conversation about hunger on social media. The 200 network member food banks supported these national efforts locally, leveraging this same message and creative look & feel on their individual social channels to promote engagement with the campaign in their local communities.
Managing a granting program that touches every state in the country is unique for a foundation. It means a very complex administrative process due to the vast number of initiatives they support. Before SmartSimple, Feeding America was sending award confirmations, processing grant requests, report reminders, and keeping contact details up to date manually, resulting in hours a day entering and updating data alone.
That’s why they decided to use SmartSimple as their grants management solution. Feeding America now has:
● A single, centralized repository for all their programs and activities that’s completely automated
● Intuitively organized records for all incoming donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals
● Automated workflows that make sending all confirmations and report reminders easier than before
“SmartSimple enabled us to configure and automate our unique system the way we wanted and needed. The platform was able to automate the unique requirements of our operation and we now have a central repository of information that’s accessible to those working across all our food banks, as well as our staff. There is no way we would have been able to absorb the volume and additional complexity we currently have without a system like SmartSimple.”
Anne Bronson, Managing Director of Member Grants, Feeding America
Thanks to the help of their SmartSimple platform, Feeding America is saving significant administrative time and resources managing their approximately $30 million in grants for more than 80 initiatives each year. Read the full story on our website for the complete details.
You can follow the campaign, and learn how to participate, all throughout September at FeedingAmerica.org/hungeractionmonth.