“Nearly 22 million low-income kids from communities across the country rely on the free and reduced-price meals they receive at school,” according to Share Our Strength, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that works to solve hunger and poverty around the world.
The organization runs No Kid Hungry, a national program focused on feeding children in need, and is currently supporting the U.S. Department of Agriculture in providing “flexibility in how kids access meals during this time and for Congress to make sure [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which supplies nutrition benefits so those in need can buy healthy foods] is maximized for struggling families.”
Alison Lou, Marlo Laz, Irene Neuwirth, Ana Khouri, Jenna Blake, Deborah Pagani, Andrea Fohrman, Sarah Hendler, Maya Brenner and Jacquie Aiche are among the growing number of more than 40 fine jewelry designers, from New York City to Los Angeles, who have come together to help fund the initiative by donating a portion of their sales to the cause.
“There were no parameters, it was just a call to action,” said public relations agency founders Danielle Gadi of Danielle Gadi PR and Jen Lowitz of IHPR in a joint statement. “We’ve seen everything from a flat figure to 30 percent off. Most designers are offering up their full collections as part of this effort. If this effort creates some additional visibility around the urgency of the situation, we’re thrilled with whatever anyone can do, however they want to do it.”
The two spearheaded the operation and began outreach on Saturday night, encouraging the community and supporters to spread the word on social media using hashtag #Linked and tagging @nokidhungry.
“I’m a big believer in energy and how we use it, so if the jewelry industry can use our collective voice to raise funds for No Kid Hungry, I’m firmly behind it,” said Aiche, who is based out of L.A. The Los Angeles Unified School District, which is currently closed, is the second largest public school district in the U.S. “And as a mom of two, the idea of kids and parents put in this situation is unacceptable to me. I’ll do whatever I can to help.”
On Sunday evening, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City schools, the nation’s largest district would also be closed starting Monday.
“As mothers we cannot imagine not getting involved and giving back in this way,” said Jenny Klatt and Stephanie Wynne Lalin, cofounders of New York City-based brand Jemma Wynne. “It is heartbreaking that in a regular climate, one in seven children in the U.S. lives with hunger, and the reality is that in times of crisis, these types of organizations need our support more than ever as this need grows greater.”