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posted: 11/13/2017 1:00 AM

That's Caring focuses on feeding children

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  • Jake Pritscher

    Jake Pritscher


 

An interview with Jake Pritscher. business development and marketing director with That's Caring in Elk Grove Village.

Q: Tell us about That's Caring's history and mission.

A: In 2008, the founders of That's Caring had an idea: a gift can make an impact on the life of more than one person.

We wanted to create a gift that not only strengthens relationships through delicious goods, but strengthen communities by doing good. As our parents and many others have said, actions speak louder than words. We believe how you give says a lot about the world you wish to live in.

First things first: We had to determine how we would make a difference. We knew that we wanted to provide an ethical, green alternative to the wasteful and eco-harming gifts that dominated the market, so we prioritized sustainability.

But this was not enough. While it was still important to consider the environment, we believed we could do more. Since 2013, we've focused our efforts on solving childhood hunger in the US (and kept sustainability in mind!).

And, over the years, we've learned to make a greater impact by trying to give with everything we do. We partner with many incredible companies and feature ethical, sustainable and charitable products in each of our gifts, doubling our impact. Partnering with OneHope wine, which is in all of our wine & cheese gifts, increased our impact from giving six weekend meals per gift to 30!

We won't change the world alone; we will change it together by giving good. We're on a mission to make tomorrow better by giving today.

This is only the beginning of our story, and yours

Our mission is Give Happiness, Help Hunger: it's more than a saying, it's our mission.

Your That's Caring gift matters to two people: the person you give it to and the child you help feed. When you purchase a gift, it helps support weekend bag programs at food banks across the country. Weekend bags provide food for hungry children outside of the National School Lunch Program, making sure that they are fed all seven days of the week.

To date, That's Caring gifts have provided over 71,000 meals to children across the country. Not only are you giving a co-worker, client, friend or loved one the happiness that gifts bring, you're also providing a child with the chance to thrive.

Q: What are the 6 specific aspects of American child hunger?

A: 6 Aspect of American child hunger according to No Kid Hungry. For more information visit www.nokidhungry.org

1. 3 out of 4 public school teachers say their kids come to class hungry.

2. 25 percent of households with children living in large cities are food-insecure

3. 44 percent Percentage of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps) participants are children.

4. The typical (median) food-secure household spent 27 percent more for food than the typical food-insecure household of the same size and composition.

5. 59 percent of food-insecure households reported that in the previous month they had participated in one or more of the three largest federal food and nutrition assistance programs: SNAP (formerly food stamps), School Lunch and WIC (Women, Infants, & Children).

6. Children who regularly start their day with breakfast have 17.5 percent higher scores on standardized math test.

Q: Tell us about the 30-Day Hunger Action Challenge?

A: Established by Feeding America in 2008, Hunger Action Month is a nationwide initiative designed to mobilize you to take action against hunger. At That's Caring, we not only do we want to be in the action, but we want to help create action by creating the 30-Day Hunger Action Challenge.

We divided the month into five-day campaigns that target helping and providing awareness for one of the following aspects of American hunger: nutrition, activity, ethical shopping, volunteering and compromising.

1. Nutrition is an important aspect of hunger because many struggling with food insecurity have no choice but to buy cheaper, unhealthier options as opposed to healthy, nutritious food. This results in health consequences and a lack of energy, particularly for children.

2. Activity is hard for children living in food-insecure households. When children don't get the proper nutrients, then they don't have the energy to do the activities that children should be able to do, such as playing, doing sports, participating in gym class and more. 3. Compromising is something that parents in food-insecure households have to do everyday. When you only have a limited quantity of money, you have to make incredibly difficult decisions about what to spend it on. Because food is an essential part of survival, it often is prioritized over other, still very important bills, including utilities, transportation, medical care, housing and education.

4. Childhood Hunger differs from hunger in adults in numerous ways. Children are more likely to struggle with hunger than adults, and the effects that it has are greater. Children who grow up hungry or with improper nutrition have developmental issues, both socially and physically, and also have a harder time getting through school.

5. Ethical Shopping is an easy way to help, especially if you don't always have the time to volunteer. Whenever you buy something -- whether it's clothes, gifts or even groceries -- consider the effects of your purchase. Many organizations give back to hunger or other relevant, deserving causes, and your purchase can make a serious impact.

The 30-Day Hunger Action Challenge specifically educates both participants and observers about these aspects of hunger. Some days, our challenge was for people to simply vote in a Twitter poll or post on Instagram; at other times, we encouraged people to budget or shop ethically for five days in a row.

Q: How can people donate/give? Tell us about Weekend Food Bags? How's it work? What do you give? Where do you give?

A: Anytime you buy a gift, you will give funds and raise awareness for Weekend Food Bags. To donate directly to the Northern Illinois Food Bank, go to SolveHungerToday.org/ways-to-give/give-funds/. If there is a closer food bank to you, you can always log on to their website to donate as well. To find your closest food bank, visit FeedingAmerica.org.

Weekend Food Bags are an incredible innovation that does not get enough attention. We have the ability to feed every kid 7 days of the week through this program.

It works is the simplest most efficient way possible. Every Friday, children who qualify for free or reduced lunches will receive a backpack full of food to take home directly from school. This backpack often has enough food for their younger siblings. The food in the bag is picked out by the food bank's on staff nutritionist.

Q: What are people in your industry taking about? What's trending?

A: Everyone is talking about how they can customize the appearance of gifts. It's always evolving, and we plan to continue being an industry innovator/leader for many years to come.

Q: Where did you graduate from, and what was your focus of study?

A: I graduated from Beloit College with a degree in sociology. My main area of focus was in American childhood nutrition.

Q: Tell us one interesting fact about the organization that most people may not know?

A: We give back to the closest food bank, that we work with, to the customer who purchased our gift. We believe e-Commerce should give back to the community of the customer!

Q: Two people we should follow on social media (Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter) and why?

A: Your local food bank. An easy way to stay up to date on events.

8. @miiglers. They're turning consumerism to Cause-sumerism by helping you find amazing social good companies without ever going out of your way. The founder, Luc Berlin, is really creating something special that will change the way we all shop.

Q: If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

A: Kriss Kringle. He's an incredibly efficient grifter that is well known for the "Make a list, Check it Twice" method that has become the gold standard in gifting. Through his very merry spirit, he spreads happiness all across the world turning the naughty into nice. He didn't care if you were rich, or poor, he loves you just the same. If I had to ask him one question, It would be, "Santa, what do you want for Christmas?"

Q: If you could give a TED talk in anything, what would it be?

A: "Why voting matters, economically speaking?" How we elect the future with each purchase. The cause and effect of the products you purchase, and the influence of you.