Angelina Jolie feels strongly about the number of children going hungry in America.
On Tuesday, Jolie joined a Zoom call led by No Kid Hungry, the organization working to feed kids across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. The activist and Oscar winner previously donated $1 million to the organization and has continued to stay involved, shining a light on the food insecurity thousands of kids are still facing.
Jolie, who has been advocating for refugees around the world for years as a special envoy to the UNHCR, shared that she got involved with No Kid Hungry after realizing the scope of the situation in America.
“I knew that there were problems in America, that there was poverty, but I could not believe when I realized how many school children in America were dependent on a meal to not go hungry," she said on the call. "I was so disgusted that we have gotten to this point as a country and that we would let the most vulnerable be in such a state. I can’t imagine what it feels like for those parents.”
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In a previous statement, Jolie, 44, pointed to how many kids relied on school lunches every day to not go hungry. With schools across the country closed in hopes of curbing the spread of COVID-19, they no longer have that guaranteed meal — and she wants to make sure they're fed.
“As of this week, over a billion children are out of school worldwide because of closures linked to coronavirus,” Jolie said in a statement in late March. “Many children depend on the care and nutrition they receive during school hours, including nearly 22 million children in America who rely on food support. No Kid Hungry is making resolute efforts to reach as many of those children as possible.”
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According to a press release, the charity has already distributed $2 million to 78 organizations in 30 states across the country and issued new emergency grants to school districts, food banks and community organizations feeding kids nationwide.
Parents and caregivers in selects states seeking meals for children can text the word “FOOD” (or “COMIDA”) to 877-877 to find emergency food distribution sites in their neighborhoods. More states will be added on a rolling basis.
Jolie also urged Congress in a letter this week to increase its food assistance to affected families through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
"Many of the most vulnerable children in America have missed nearly 740 million meals at school, due to closure resulting from the rapid spread of coronavirus. With parents facing lost jobs and wages, many of these children are going hungry," she wrote in the letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, according to USA Today.
"While strengthening SNAP will not alleviate all of the challenges low-income families are facing during the public health emergency, it will help ensure that fewer children go to bed hungry in our country," she said.
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