As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday and plans to celebrate with loved ones are being made, turkeys are baking and Mom’s pumpkin pie is being whipped up. With all this food on our minds, many of us forget about those who won’t have a feast to enjoy this Thursday. Even more, many of those don’t even know where their next meal will come from.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 14 percent of homes in the United States were food-insecure in 2014. Fourteen seems like a small number, but when you look at the number of households it actually represents, it’s shocking that in the United States, more than 48 million Americans live in food insecure households, including 15.3 million children.
Food insecurity as defined by the USDA means:
- Low food security: reports of reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet. Little or no indication of reduced food intake.
- Very low food security: reports of multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.
These staggering facts are just one of the many reasons Alliance Data associates across the organization are committed to ending hunger. In 2014, our associates from the United States and Canada rallied together to collect more than 400,000 pounds of food for those in need. Associates supported food banks in Ohio, Kansas, Texas, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Toronto.
Here’s just a snapshot of the impact they made:
- Columbus: associates from Alliance Data’s card services business raised more than $180,000 the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, including a match from the company.
- San Antonio: Alliance Data’s card services’ associates have established an ongoing relationship with San Antonio Food Bank, where they volunteer often. In fact, last year, the San Antonio Food Bank nominated Alliance Data as a United Way Volunteer of the Year, and we won!
- Aurora, Ill.: Epsilon associates packed 48 boxes, prepared 10,338 helping to feed 29 children for the year for Feed My Starving Children.
- Wakefield, Mass.: Epsilon associates have an 18-year relationship with the Dwelling Place. When their stove broke this summer, we stepped in and made a $20,000 donation.
- Toronto, Ontario: LoyaltyOne associates’ food drive for local food banks has raised a total of 5,108 food items so far. They hosted a four-circuit endurance program hosted at the YMCA where 100 associates participated in fitness challenges to raise basic necessities, including food items for The Sanctuary, a local Toronto homeless shelter. Associates also visited the Daily Bread Food Bank to help package food items.
- Plano, Texas: associates from Alliance Data headquarters collected 4,124
pounds of food for North Texas Food Bank this summer. In addition, the company donated funds to fill 500 backpacks with nutritious food to give to hunger children in Dallas this summer.
With 400,000 pounds of food collected by our associates, and all the other impacts made throughout our communities, we have 400,000 reasons to be thankful at Alliance Data, and yet, many more will still spend Thanksgiving day hungry. All these efforts are easy to replicate at your own company or with your family. It’s simple. Even just $1, according to Feeding America, will create 22 meals. So in the spirit of giving and thanks, think about how you can help someone in need. Hunger is 24/7. But together we can help end it.