Making a Difference for Families Facing Food Insecurity: StarKist, Feed the Children, Cornerstones Partner at Food Distribution Event

(Courtesy of Chip McCrea Photography)

Reston-headquartered StarKist partnered with Feed the Children and Cornerstones on Thursday, June 22 to bring hunger relief to 400 families living along Northern Virginia’s Dulles Corridor. The drive-through event was held at St. John Neumann Catholic Community in Reston. During the event, 400 families and seniors received a 25-pound box of shelf-stable food, including StarKist products; a 15-pound box of hygiene essentials such as shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and personal-care items; a box of Avon products; Disney storybooks and other items. This was the trio’s second annual food distribution event since StarKist relocated its global corporate and administrative headquarters from Pittsburgh, Penn. to Reston in April 2022.

(Chae-Ung Um, President and CEO of StarKist (Courtesy of Chip McCrea Photography)

“At StarKist, we have cultivated a longstanding partnership with Feed the Children, an organization dedicated to nationwide hunger relief efforts and with Cornerstones, an organization that continues to support underserved communities in Northern Fairfax County,” said Chae-Ung Um, President and CEO of StarKist. “Hunger and food insecurity are pervasive issues that affect communities everywhere, including right here in Reston. As a responsible corporate citizen, we are committed to addressing this challenge head-on and consider it a privilege to give back to this community.”

“Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) commends StarKist, Feed the Children and Cornerstones for hosting this second annual event to help families who are experiencing food insecurity,” said Alex Iams, Executive Vice President at FCEDA. “Our community is very fortunate that StarKist chose to relocate their headquarters to Reston last year.”

For nearly 15 years, StarKist has contributed over 821,000 pounds of tuna and chicken products to help food-insecure children and families across the U.S., and more than $880,000 to support Feed the Children’s disaster and emergency response efforts. This is the latest in StarKist’s continual efforts to alleviate hunger and food shortages, dating back to 1917, when there was a nationwide protein shortage during World War I.

“My kids have only been out of school a week, and this will give them more things to eat at home,” said Elizabeth, of a participating family. “I feel blessed; that’s truly the word that comes to mind. It’s amazing what these organizations are doing, there are so many families in need out there.”

(Courtesy of Chip McCrea Photography)

“Children cannot thrive unless their basic needs are met. A widespread issue like childhood hunger will only be solved when enough people work together. Partners like StarKist and Cornerstones are vital to our mission as we continue to serve the families who need us most,” said Travis Arnold, president and CEO of Feed the Children, Established in 1979, Feed the Children exists to defeat childhood hunger. It is one of the largest U.S.-based charities and serves those in need in the U.S. and in 8 countries around the world. It provides food, education initiatives, essentials and disaster response.

“Coming out of the pandemic, a lot of people were ready to put that in the rearview mirror, but what Cornerstones is seeing is actually that it’s going to be a long recovery for so many families who lost income,” added Kerrie Wilson, CEO of Cornerstones. “We’ve had a 30 percent increase in people coming to our pantry just over the last two months. We lost SNAP benefits, which is a federal program to help supplement food, families are experiencing inflation, and so the need is great. Something like today’s wonderful event puts food directly in the hands of families, and it’s honestly life changing.”

Since 1970, Cornerstones has championed the Dulles Corridor as a thriving, equitable, and compassionate place to live and work. More than 16,000 families and individuals, including upwards of 5,000 children, annually benefit from Cornerstone’s safety-net services and programs, including homelessness prevention, emergency shelter and food, and urgent financial assistance to help stabilize people in times of crisis. As important, Cornerstones works beyond emergency help to empower our most vulnerable neighbors to regain their independence by securing affordable housing, quality education for children, and valuable job-skills training.