A Bright Beginning
Next month, a big ribbon will be cut, and the doors to the USANA Kids Eat packing center will open to the public. People from all across Utah will come together to celebrate the occasion with the first food-packing event. Local businesses, USANA employees, and other members of the community will work together to fill bags. But this isn’t just any kind of bag: they’re specially packed with a weekends’ worth of delicious, non-perishable food, given to a child in need.
Soon, a hungry child will open one of these bags and find relief in another meal.
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USANA Kids Eat is an initiative brought on by the USANA Foundation. It all started with the acquisition of two local charities earlier this year, KidsEat! and the Kids Next Door. Both were dedicated to providing food to at-risk youth in the Salt Lake area for years. The Foundation is excited to continue this service in the new USANA Kids Eat center.
Hunger Is Here
Whether you live in the United States, the United Arab Emirates, or somewhere in between, hunger is in our backyards. Many of our neighbors around the world are going to bed hungry and waking up hungry without us ever knowing about it. And near the USANA Home Office, the reality is quantifiable—one in seven Utah children don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
The Kids Eat center is an important step forward in addressing childhood hunger in Utah. And, with community involvement, we’re working to bring an end to the cycle of hunger. It’s a lofty goal, one we should all aim for.
Brains Need Proper Nutrition
Minds of all shapes and sizes need proper nutrition to perform at their brightest. In fact, your brain is the hungriest organ in your body. It takes up only 3 percent of total body weight but requires 15 percent of your blood and oxygen supply. That’s a lot of thinking power. Missing a meal or two has a detrimental effect on cognition—being in a constant state of food insecurity is even worse.
Have you ever been hungry? Not “slept in, missed breakfast” hungry, or “I should’ve eaten before this workout” hungry. True hunger, the kind that comes from rationing what little food is left or running out completely. Panic sets in alongside the deep stomachaches. Concentration drops. The mind can’t focus anywhere except to wonder when the next hot meal might be. Or when there will be any food at all.
A majority of the families Kids Eat serves have at least one full-time working parent, but the challenges they face can be astronomical. The fear of even a single unexpected expense is an everyday reality. There is such a relief in seeing the smile on a child’s face as they come home with a bag of food clutched in their small hands.
Solving Utah Hunger, Together
The best part of the program is how USANA is coming together with the community to address hunger issues for the long-term. USANA works with organizations who provide a steady source of charity, ending a perpetuating cycle and giving kids the nutrition needed to fuel their dreams and aspirations, to make their parents proud—and to put an end to the cycle of poverty. It’s not just charity. It’s empowering each youth and their families.
Mountain America Credit Union joins the executive team for a FoodPak at the Home Office.
There’s a lot to look forward to in the near future. Keep an eye on the USANA Foundation blog for future stories of the growth of Kids Eat. While you’re there, catch up on everything the Foundation has been doing lately.
Make Your Own Mark
Kids Eat is focused on the needs around the USANA Home Office, but the USANA Foundation’s reach is worldwide. Since 2012, the Foundation has had an incredible impact on global communities, with 26 countries reached and over 40 million meals provided. Their work has lifted impoverished schools, hurricane-torn cities, struggling mission houses, and humble families and individuals.
There are so many more mouths to feed and people to lift. Consider making a donation to support the USANA Foundation’s ongoing efforts to support and empower disenfranchised people all over the world.