Food insecurity exists everywhere. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live.
The origins of the Ben Curtis Family Foundation began in 2013 when Ben and Candace Curtis viewed an eye-opening documentary about hunger and food insecurity in the United States.
The images were shocking. The statistics – powerful. They wondered if this injustice was happening right in their own communities. The Curtis family uncovered research that revealed in Portage, Stark, and Summit Counties, 20% of children – or roughly 6,350 children in Portage County, 14,410 in Stark County, and 22,570 children in Summit County – suffered from food insecurity.
In their hometown of Kent, Ohio, the percentage of children in the school systems on a food subsidy program at that time was close to 48 percent – with one school at 80 percent.
It’s a little different from the definition of hunger. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. It is important to know that though hunger and food insecurity are closely related, they are distinct concepts. Hunger refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort, while food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the household level.
The simple point is this: If children are unsure of where their next meal is, they cannot focus on being the best they can be in school. It affects their nutrition, their self-esteem and their confidence.
The Curtis family decided to help by contributing a solution directly where the children would be – in their schools. They recognized that teachers see food insecurity in their classrooms every day and try to find ways to combat it with their own resources.
Ben and Candace partnered with a local elementary school principal to develop the Birdie Bag Program.
A Birdie Bag contains non-perishable foods and a toiletry kit which is sent home with children in need weekly at regular intervals throughout the school year.
Working alongside school principals ensures that all of our programs work for both the schools and our organization. It is vital for children to learn about good nutrition and have access to it. It’s not only a solid foundation for a child’s physical health, but for their mental health and academic potential. We’re always in need of volunteers to help us fill Birdie Bags each month and to help out at our events which raise awareness and the funds needed to beat food insecurity. Check out our upcoming events.
Food insecurity is just the beginning. Some students lack shoes and clothing. Others lack access to technology.
Wherever there is insecurity, the Foundation will look for ways to help these students pursue their dreams on a more even playing field.
Whether it’s food insecurity, supplies insecurity, or just being in a competitive world, The Foundation is driven to provide what it takes to remove obstacles from the lives of disadvantaged children.
It begins with having something good to eat – and not having to worry about something so basic. This frees them from worry so they can chase their dreams, whatever the odds.
Our affiliate companies, the Ben Curtis Golf Academy & Fairway and Vines, raise awareness for the Ben Curtis Family Foundation to help combat childhood hunger. Click on a link below to learn more about doing good just by doing what you love.
We believe it takes a village to end childhood hunger. That’s why our family is fighting this growing problem in our own communities in Portage, Stark, and Summit counties. By working closely with schools in the area and the county at large, we can beat this epidemic. We each bring our own strengths to the fight.
Click on a link below to learn more about ours.
We’re growing and expanding our mission to end childhood hunger with each passing year. We couldn’t do it without the guidance and support of our Board members, who come from a range of backgrounds.
Learn more about our annual reports by clicking on a link to the right.
As little as $50 a year can feed one hungry child in northeast Ohio, but there are many more children in the area experiencing hunger and its devastating effects on a daily basis. We use the dollars we collect to provide food for those who need it most. Learn more about our financials by clicking on a link to the right.