Michelle Obama aims to give a million meals in new campaign

By HALELUYA HADERO
AP Business Writer

Michelle Obama is launching a nonprofit campaign that aims to provide more than 1 million meals to food-insecure families in connection with the debut Tuesday of her children’s food show on Netflix.

The “Pass the Love w/ Waffles + Mochi” initiative, named after the new series ”Waffles + Mochi,” is a collaborative campaign by the nonprofit Partnership for a Healthier America, its honorary chair Obama and Higher Ground Productions, the production company owned by the former first lady and her husband, former President Barack Obama.

The nonprofit says the campaign was inspired by the series, which tells the story of two puppet friends who “travel the world exploring the wonders of food and culture while learning how to cook with fresh ingredients.”

Walmart and Blue Apron have jumped in to support the initiative, which also aims to “leverage the show, its characters, and Mrs. Obama to meaningfully shift our food culture toward more affordable, fun, at-home meals for families of every income level,” according to the nonprofit.

PHA President and CEO Nancy Roman told The Associated Press that the two companies will contribute funds to the campaign and raise money for it among their customers. More than half the money is expected to come from the public, Roman says.

The nonprofit was created in conjunction with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort in 2010. The former first lady, who has long been a champion of healthy eating, said in the announcement last week that the idea is to “help make sure families all over the country can access fresh, nutritious food” amid the devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. has seen a significant rise in hunger during the virus outbreak. One estimate from the organization Feeding America says around 45 million Americans in 2020 may have experienced food insecurity — limited or uncertain access to adequate food — compared with 35 million in 2019.

Caitlin Caspi, a University of Connecticut professor who studies food insecurity, says the rise in unemployment, the closure of schools and disruptions across food systems — like shortages of staple foods in the early days of the pandemic — all played a factor in the increase. And many, left with little options, turned to food banks for help.

The issue has been “most pronounced among households with children, and in particular, households with children of color,” Caspi said.

“Meal boxes that provide fresh food and a complete set of ingredients to households are one way to reduce the impact of these food access disruptions, and to get healthy meals on the table,” she added.

The food service organization Genuine Foods will source and assemble the campaign’s meal boxes, which will then be distributed by local nonprofits in various cities. Roman says they will begin to roll out the campaign in cities that have the highest child poverty rates as the funds are raised.

The rollout will start in May, Roman says, and continue throughout the year. Each city deployment is expected to take place over four weeks.

“We’re thinking of a pace of about two a month,” Roman said. But, she added, “It will depend in part on how the campaign is going.”

——

The Associated Press receives support from the Lilly Endowment for coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits. The AP is solely responsible for all content. For all of AP’s philanthropy coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/philanthropy.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Crime

Jurors take less than 30 minutes to convict Fontenot of murder

Crime

Sheriff: Body found on the side of the road

life

Team Green Wednesday recycling drop-off schedule has changed

Local News

PHOTO GALLERY: Veterans Cemetery holds burial for seven unclaimed veterans

Business

Commonwealth LNG accused of mowing over threatened bird habitat

Local News

Biden announces Israel has offered a three-part proposal to end the war in Gaza

Local News

Release of 1M barrels of gas ‘not likely’ to ease price at pump

Crime

LC man charged with child porn possession

Local News

Scooter Hobbs column: Everything you need to know (and more) about LSU opponent

Local News

Lake Charles, Sulphur populations down, but Hunter says news isn’t all bad

life

STEM-centric Saturday: Phillips 66 STEM Family Fun Day in the Park this weekend

Local News

Four local educators finalists for state teacher, principal of the year

Crime

Trial begins for man accused in fatal Sherry Street shooting

Crime

GUILTY: Trump becomes first former US president convicted of felony crimes

Crime

Doomsday plot: Idaho jury convicts Chad Daybell of killing wife and girlfriend’s 2 children

Local News

WEATHER UPDATE: Potential for severe storms into Saturday

Local News

Sowela awarded nearly $300,000 to support mental health intiativies

Local News

Louisiana may soon require public school classrooms to display the Ten Commandments

Crime

Jury in Trump trial resume deliberations after asking to rehear testimony

Crime

Two injured in Wednesday shooting

life

Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office joins ‘Click It Or Ticket’ campaign

Local News

LDH urges precautions for mosquitoes to protect against West Nile, dengue

Local News

SUV pulled from same waterway where body recovered earlier this week

Crime

LCPD: Ice pick stabbing after fight breaks out in car