COVID-19 Outbreak: Children Left Without Meals

Photo: WFP/Ayesha
Barron Segar
Published March 24, 2020

As the coronavirus continues to spread, it is having dire consequences on the health and nutrition of school children and their families.

As I am writing to you, partial or country-wide closures of schools have been reported in 40 countries where the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) implements school feeding programs. This means that nearly 9 million children are no longer receiving WFP school meals — and that number is set to rise in the coming days and weeks.

We need the help of generous supporters like you. Right now, your donation to WFP USA can help ensure that WFP continues feeding children who rely on school meals.

For many hungry children, a school meal may be their only nutritious meal during the day — without it they lose the protection of vital vitamins and micronutrients that can help during a crisis situation. Good nutrition is foundational to good health, and people who are malnourished are less capable of fighting off disease.

The situation is even more precarious for children living in countries plagued by extreme poverty, armed conflict and whose health systems are weak or almost non-existent.

In countries where schools are still open, WFP’s programs are ensuring that hygiene, behavior and food safety standards are followed and that social distancing measures are addressed to mitigate the risk of increased infections. WFP is also working with partners to improve access to water and sanitation.

In countries where schools are closed, WFP is evaluating possible alternatives. This includes providing take-home rations in lieu of in-person meals, home delivery of food and provision of cash or vouchers.

WFP is pre-positioning nutritious food supplies and coordinating with governments and partners to ensure that supply chains of specialized nutritious food are not disrupted by transport and cross-border restrictions.

We need your help: Your gift today can provide the uninterrupted delivery of lifesaving nutritious food to vulnerable communities at risk of infection.

WFP will continue to do whatever it takes to get food to children who rely on it — but it’s only possible with the help of supporters like you. Please consider making a donation today.

Thank you for taking the time to help ensure a child continues to get the nutrition they need to learn and thrive today.

With gratitude,
Barron Segar
CEO, World Food Program USA