As business owners, we know how important it is to build a successful and thriving company. And with that success comes a great opportunity – and responsibility – to give back to our community.
For the team here at Crown Bank, that means supporting Every Meal to fight childhood hunger.
Food Insecurity in Our Backyard
It’s easy to dismiss food insecurity as an issue that happens “elsewhere,” but the reality is that children in our own community are impacted more than we may realize.
Kids go hungry right in our own backyard. This is an issue that affects our neighbors, friends, and even employees who may struggle to put food on the table for their kids. The invisible barriers of poverty, unemployment and underemployment, and systemic inequalities silently plague communities throughout Minnesota.
At Crown Bank, we decided not to be disheartened by the enormity of this challenge. Instead, we embrace the opportunity to make a difference. By acknowledging and addressing food insecurity in our own community, we can create a ripple effect that spreads throughout Minnesota and beyond.
We recently sat down with President and Founder Rob Williams to talk about Every Meal, its impact on the Minnesota community, and our relationship with the nonprofit.
Every Meal began in 2010 as a weekend food provider for 27 hungry kindergartners at Sheridan Elementary. Three years later, they became a non-profit organization with the intention of providing weekend food for hungry school children across Minnesota.
“We started in 2010 as a program at Mill City Church,” Williams said. “The principal at Sheridan Elementary approached us and said there were hungry children in her school, and asked if there was anything we could do to help them. We said yes, but didn’t know exactly what to do at the time. We started by just putting food in bags and giving it to the kids.”
Every Meal now feeds 12,000 Minnesota students a week in 450 schools statewide. Even this impressive reach doesn’t cover what Minnesota needs – or what Every Meal would like to provide. While it’s an unbelievable number of kids they serve, Every Meal currently has an additional 125 schools on their waitlist.
“We need money for food on an ongoing annual basis,” Williams said. “We buy all of our own food and provide a bag to kids for around $6. While that may not sound like a lot, when you’re delivering 500,000 bags a year it quickly adds up.”
How Crown Bank Got Involved
Crown Bank’s relationship with Every Meal began this past November, when our CFO Paul Moen learned about the organization as they delivered their 10 millionth meal. The celebration event was held at the school where his daughter teaches.
“Crown Bank donated to Every Meal after the event and has been volunteering monthly at our facility ever since,” Williams shared. “The Crown Bank team has been fantastic. They heard about the need and did something about it right away.”
Williams believes that all businesses and organizations should be involved in their communities, no matter the cause.
“What I would encourage any business to do is figure out what you care about and what you want to be involved with as a company, and do something about it,” he said. “That can be through donations, volunteering your time, or offering the services your business provides.”
Just Getting Started
What Every Meal has done for children in our community is nothing short of inspiring, and they’re just getting started. Their goal is for someday to ensure every school in the state of Minnesota has a weekend food program and that every kid has access to that food program. They’re currently working on a network of programs across the state to realize that goal.
It’s been such an honor for our team to work with Every Meal. Through them, we’ve had the opportunity to sponsor an entire year’s worth of meals for Centennial Elementary to ensure none of their children go hungry; pack children’s backpacks with weekend food; and volunteer as a team at their facility. We look forward to growing our partnership with Every Meal and fighting child hunger in our community.