“I never go to bed hungry,” remarked Henry, a young “Hatchling,” in a new Hatch Hunger Project video produced by SheKnows Media, in partnership with Unilever’s Project Sunlight. In its first joint campaign with BlogHer since acquiring the platform, SheKnows is leveraging the property’s impressive influencer network—the largest womens lifestyle media brand, with a reach of over 75 million unduplicated visitors a month—to bring attention to food-insecure households and the staggering number of kids—16 million, or 1 in 5—who face hunger in America.
Comprised of moms, educators, community leaders and parenting experts, SheKnows activated its leading influencer network of 20 top content creators and social media influencers to optimize reach and impact of The Hunger Project and Unilever Project Sunlight’s Share A Meal effort. The campaign has quickly generated over 30,000 SheKnows article page views and 1,215,000 video views.
Committed to fostering opportunity to our future leaders, Unilever’s Project Sunlight Share A Meal effort is a global initiative to promote a #BrightFuture for children by bringing attention to sustainability and livelihood issues facing kids. I asked Jonathan Atwood, Vice President, Sustainable Living and Corporate Communications at Unilever, North America, how the SheKnows Hatch program fits into Unilever’s commitment to help end child hunger in America.
“Child hunger hits closer to home than most of us tend to think. The reality is, your own neighbor could be amongst the one in five children in America faced with hunger every day. Unilever has been on a longstanding mission to help fight hunger and through our partnership with Feeding America we have helped provide nearly 30 million meals to families and children in need in the past five years. Through this partnership with SheKnows’Hatch program we’re continuing to bring awareness to rally our consumers, our partners, our retailers and our employees to join us to “Share A Meal” with children and families in need.”
The inspiring video recorded a single day grocery shopping exercise with Hatch kids—9-10 year-old participants in the SheKnows digital media literacy program, whose notion of hunger was challenged by giving them the assignment to experience what it’s like to try to buy groceries for only $ 36.50 a week.
“Hatch is defined as‘content made for grown-ups by kids with a mission.’It teaches children how to express themselves digitally in responsible and safe ways that speak to their individuality and unique perspectives. It also gives adults a framework for engaging kids in conversations that provoke thought on important social issues,” said Samantha Skey, Chief Revenue Officer, SheKnows Media.
With great humility, the Hatch kids in The Hunger Project video articulately share the daunting grocery shopping task they undertook to satisfy the four food groups with a limited weekly budget of $ 36.50. “I thought you could get so much more for $ 36!,” exclaimed a Hatchling shopper.
Netbase Application Term Analysis: Hatch Hunger Project
Unilever’s Atwood underscored the exponential value of small acts of generosity: “The act of sharing a meal is powerful and no act is too small – from donating food, time or money, to hosting a meal through a local community center or volunteering through an organization – we can all make a difference when multiplied over time. Unilever Project Sunlight was started on the premise of encouraging people to take small steps toward creating a brighter future for children and we truly believe that small actions can add up to make a big impact.”
In my interview with Skey, she explained how the campaign was born organically as SheKnows tackled a way to address the hunger issue with New York a City Hatch kids, “These are kids who see homeless people on the street on a regular basis, but who don’t have a notion of hunger in their own lives. Their notion of hunger may be not having had a snack in a while, but they haven’t dealt with hunger with a capital ‘H’.”
Skey noted the lasting impressions she felt had been made on the Hunger Project Hatch kids by The Hunger Project in regards to their relationship with food, their values, even their language. As Reed, a 9-year-old girl who participated in the video, admonished, “Don’t use ‘I’m starving’ lightly.” She also told me, “I used to be careless when talking about food. I used to say I was ‘starving’when I wanted a snack. Now I just say ‘may I have a snack?’” Reed left me with little doubt that her consciousness had been deeply impacted, probably forever, when she told me “I feel more grateful when I eat my dinner and I think, wow there are a lot of people out there who don’t have food so I shouldn’t take it for granted.”
While the NYC Hatch kids are all aware of disparities of wealth and privilege, according to Skey, “They aren’t dealing with hunger on a regular basis.” Central to the Hatch Hunger Project, Skey continued, was “How to deal with hunger as a societal concern. We were drawn to the idea of the budget, as 9-year-olds are at the right age to contemplate math of a weekly budget. $ 36.50 was the number we discerned would be required by a food challenged individual to buy food for a week.
I asked Sabine, a 9-year-old Hatch kid, how has the Hunger Project had changed her thinking about food:
“It makes me think that you don’t need as much food as some people buy, and when you’re buying food don’t just grab what you want, think about if it’s really useful.Also it makes me think about the people who don’t have enough food who might need more. I would hope that every person who has enough food would think about other people who are hungry and make an effort to help them by donating food and money. When people have leftovers they throw it out. There could be a better way to use it.”
Skey noted, “We didn’t want to sensationalize hunger by using a look and see approach, which wouldn’t stick with the kids, so we translated the project into real money. NYC kids don’t spend much time in grocery store.” She said the Hatch kids were “transfixed by the responsibilitythey were given, making them feel more responsible and accountable.” Initially briefed on food groups and healthy diets before beginning their shopping expedition, the Hatch kids got immediate takeaways on price points of healthy, organic. “The exercise took the kids quite a while, and they came away with big stories and justification for what they chose,” according to Skey.
Undoubtedly left with a profound impact, in a call to act responsibly, one of the kids exclaimed, “If every kid in the world did this, it would probably not stop world hunger, but we could help out with it and everyone would be a lot more grateful.”