Leonardo DiCaprio, Oprah Winfrey, Others Help Launch $15 Million Food Fund

By Etan Vlessing 4/2/20 | www.samaritanmag.com

Leonardo DiCaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs and Oprah Winfrey have made donations to help launch America's Food Fund, via GoFundMe page, to help tackle hunger during the COVID-19 crisis. The fund will work initially with existing hunger relief charities World Central Kitchen and Feeding America, before deciding where else financial support will be distributed.

DiCaprio and Job, who have used their philanthropy in the past to tackle climate change via their Earth Alliance charity, combined to donate $5 million toward the crownsourcing goal of $15 million.Apple also donated $5 million to the GoFundMe webpage, and Oprah Winfrey and the Ford Foundation each donated $1 million to help launch the hunger relief charity get food to those in need.

Those seed donations helped America's Food Fund get to $12,433,300 raised towards a $15 million goal after 17 hours of fundraising.

"In neighborhoods and communities around the country, hunger is an issue that people, including families and children, face every day. Our most vulnerable populations — children who are out of school and rely on school lunch programs, low-income families, the elderly, and individuals facing job disruptions — face great barriers to receiving safe and consistent access to meals," the GoFundMe page states. 

World Central Kitchen, one of the two beneficiaries, is led by celebrity chef José Andrés, whose nonprofit typically brings field kitchens to feed people hot meals in disaster zones, including hurricanes, earthquakes flooding. But World Central Kitchen has now turned to COVID-19 relief efforts by bringing meals to cruise-ship passengers under quarantine, or to those in need in New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans and other U.S. cities impacted by the coronavirus spread.

"We are facing an unprecedented emergency, unlike anything this country has experienced. Beyond the health impacts of the COVID-19 coronavirus, our economy has ground to a halt — schools and businesses are closed, travel is restricted, and restaurants face an uncertain future. Traditional safety nets like school feeding programs, childcare services, and senior centers are struggling to stay open. The reality is stark, but simple: Millions of Americans are out of work and struggling to put food on the table for their families," World Central Kitchen says on its website.

Elsewhere, Feeding America continues amid the COVID-19 crisis to supply food and otherwise sustain a network of around 200 food banks in the U.S.

On March 13, the organization launched a $2.65 million COVID-19 Response Fund to "enable food banks to secure the resources they need to serve the most vulnerable members of the community during this difficult time." 

Feeding America routinely helps support around 40 million each year people at risk of hunge due to unemployment or underemployment, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors.

"In a country that wastes billions of pounds of food each year, it's almost shocking that anyone in America goes hungry. Yet every day, there are millions of children and adults who do not get the meals they need to thrive. We work to get nourishing food – from farmers, manufacturers, and retailers – to people in need. At the same time, we also seek to help the people we serve build a path to a brighter, food-secure future," Feeding America says on its website.

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* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.