(Originally published on TheHersheyCompany.com)
Since launching its shared social purpose, Nourishing Minds, in 2015, The Hershey Company (a DiversityInc Noteworthy Company) has been working hard to provide children with the nutrition they need to learn and grow.
India, an important market for Hershey, has one of the highest rates of child malnutrition globally. Nearly half of all deaths of children under five years of age can be attributed to malnourishment. In addition, 47 million adolescents in India have not progressed to upper or secondary school — either never attending or dropping out — a worrisome trend limiting our younger generation's potential for growth and prosperity. As Hershey works to expand its Nourishing Minds programming to India, the company wanted to leverage the unique skills and capabilities it has as a company, while also building partnerships that bring complementary expertise and ultimately greater impact.
Volunteering to relieve acute hunger
Every year, hundreds of Hershey employees around the world spend time volunteering in their local communities during our global week of service. Rise Against Hunger, a nonprofit organization that distributes food to vulnerable populations globally, has been a key partner. In 2016, the company's India team held its first ever Rise Against Hunger meal packing event, providing 10,000 meals to local children. In 2017, Hershey will reach even greater numbers of children through two events — in its home office of Mumbai and with employees at its manufacturing facility in Mandideep. The company recognizes the critical role of emergency food relief in addressing acute hunger issues and Hershey employees are proud to partner with Rise Against Hunger.
Partnering to help children learn and grow
The Hershey Company is also excited to announce two new partnerships that help address the unique nutritional needs of young children ages 0-5 as well as school-age children. First, the company is proud to support the United Way of Mumbai's Project Poshan, which will provide a nutritional supplement uniquely catered to the needs of children under six who are suffering from severe malnutrition. By coordinating with India's Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) and local anganwadis (health workers), this year-long project will not only help children get the nutrition they need, but will also play an important role in building local infrastructure for delivering nutrition.
In addition, the company is excited to partner with Annamrita, the largest provider of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in Maharashtra. As an organization, Annamrita stands out for their high quality, safe and healthy meals as well as their highly efficient, centralized kitchens which deliver more than 1,200,000 meals to school-children every day. Together, these efforts will allow The Hershey Company to address the specific nutritional needs of children as they learn and grow throughout school.
Innovating for scale and impact
Finally, the company is eager to use its product expertise in areas like portable soy-based protein to explore how it can deliver nutrition at scale. Building on Hershey's philanthropic partnership with Annamrita, the company is working on a baseline study of the nutritional needs of children in slum-schools in Maharashtra. This study will inform the development of a nutritional snack that will be distributed to the children and provide data on the impact of the snack on a variety of nutritional and educational indicators. While the company is just at the beginning of this journey, it's excited to explore the potential for snack products that deliver nutrition to those that need it most.
At The Hershey Company believes every child deserves an equal chance in life. But, children's minds can't be filled with knowledge when their stomachs are empty. The company is proud to be playing a small role in helping children across India reach their full potential.
Learn more how The Hershey Company is engaging communities and nourishing minds by taking a glance at the new CSR Report.
 United Way Mumbai