How will we feed nine billion people by 2050? Your idea could be the answer.

Think about the last time you were truly hungry.

It was uncomfortable, maybe even painful. It made focusing difficult. You were tired. The day dragged on. By the time you were finally fed, it must have felt like you were running on fumes.

Now imagine that level of hunger was what you dealt with every day of your life.


It might seem unfathomable, but that's the reality for 40 million Americans, according to Feeding America, which comes out to approximately 1 out of every 6 people. It's a problem that's growing as quickly as the global population. One of humanity's biggest concerns should be how to make sure that all of us are well-fed.

Thankfully, companies like General Mills are making a concerted effort to help end hunger — but they need help from young innovators.

Photo by Rainier Ridao on Unsplash.

While you may recognize General Mills from the cereal aisle, the company is much more than breakfast (and lunch and dinner). Throughout its history, General Mills has made great strides in making food accessible to as many people as possible by combatting food waste and promoting sustainable agriculture.

In recent years, the company has partnered with MealConnect to recover and distribute 575 million pounds of food to over 90 food banks. They've also supported more than 4,200 organizations that work to provide hunger relief to people all around the globe. In 2017, the company donated enough food to provide 30 million meals to families and children who struggle with food insecurity.

But more needs to be done. To end the global hunger crisis, food production must increase by up to 70 percent in the next 30 years.  And General Mills can't accomplish that on their own.

So in 2018, they introduced the Feeding Better Futures Scholars Program which facilitates youth-led endeavors that are developing solutions to the global hunger crisis.

Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash.

The contest-based program relies on the kindness, passion, empathy and ingenuity of today's youth to affect major change in the way we consume. The finalists work with General Mills to turn important ideas into initiatives that can be implemented on a grand scale.

Previous finalists include Jack Griffin, who created an app that connects families with local food pantries; Kate Indreland, whose work on new processes for soil enrichment is improving food quality, and Braeden Mannering, who has empowered low-income populations by providing clean food and water through brown bag donations and has galvanized over 3,000 volunteers across America to help him in his mission. And these are just a handful of the inspiring young people General Mills has recognized for their efforts in the fight to stop world hunger.

Now it's your turn. In 2019, General Mills is looking for a new crop of leaders who want to make the world a better, safer and healthier place for everyone.

Photo by Yingchou Han on Unsplash.

Do you have an idea for reducing food waste, improving sustainable agriculture, or ending hunger? If you're between the ages of 13 and 21 and live in North America, you can turn those ideas into real-life solutions. One grand prize winner will be awarded $50,000, a mentorship with industry leaders to turn their idea into a true-life innovation, and the opportunity to present their work at the Aspen Ideas Festival.  Two more finalists will receive $10,000 to help them jumpstart their solutions.  

To enter, make your ideas visual. Submit a short video or photo, as well as a project summary with details about yourself, your in-action solution to hunger, food waste or sustainable agriculture, and how the prize money will help you realize it.

Once you've got all that, but sure to submit your packet before February 26th, 2019. The entries will be judged on innovation, applicability, impact and creativity. General Mills leadership will vote and announce the finalists on April 29th, then the public will have a say in which ideas are chosen.  The grand prize winner will be announced in May.

You have the power to create a better future. Global access to good food is a vital step in that direction. How can you help make that a reality?

To learn more about the Feeding Better Futures program, check out this video.  

More
True
General Mills Feeding Better Futures
via bfmamatalk / facebook

Where did we go wrong as a society to make women feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public?

No one should feel they have the right to tell a woman when, where, and how she can breastfeed. The stigma should be placed on those who have the nerve to tell a woman feeding her child to "Cover up" or to ask "Where's your modesty?"

Breasts were made to feed babies. Yes, they also have a sexual function but anyone who has the maturity of a sixth grader knows the difference between a sexual act and feeding a child.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / JLo

The Me Too movement has shed light on just how many actresses have been placed in positions that make them feel uncomfortable. Abuse of power has been all too commonplace. Some actresses have been coerced into doing something that made them uncomfortable because they felt they couldn't say no to the director. And it's not always as flagrant as Louis C.K. masturbating in front of an up-and-coming comedian, or Harvey Weinstein forcing himself on actresses in hotel rooms.

But it's important to remember that you can always firmly put your foot down and say no. While speaking at The Hollywood Reporter's annual Actress Roundtable, Jennifer Lopez opened up about her experiences with a director who behaved inappropriately. Laura Dern, Awkwafina, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong'o, and Renee Zellweger were also at the roundtable.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Life for a shelter dog, even if it's a comfortable shelter administered by the ASPCA with as many amenities as can be afforded, is still not the same as having the comfort and safety of a forever home. Professional violinist Martin Agee knows that and that's why he volunteers himself and his instrument to help.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

Believe
True
Macy's