Two sisters prepare a garden salad together with ingredients provided by Save the Children in rural West Virginia

Save the Children Launches Rural Child Hunger Research and Innovation Lab

Innovative Ideas Sought Starting Today, Sept. 19, at; Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty to Evaluate Implementation of Chosen Solutions

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (September 19, 2022) — With existing child hunger solutions not fully addressing the unique challenges facing rural communities, Save the Children is launching the national Rural Child Hunger Research and Innovation Lab today. The lab will support community organizations across the country in designing and testing new solutions, and then cultivating them into scalable models that will work to eliminate child food insecurity in rural America’s hardest-to-reach, most impoverished communities.

Starting today, at, Save the Children is seeking innovative ideas from rural community organizations that can help achieve lasting change for children across rural America, ensuring they have regular access to nourishing food.

“When kids don’t regularly eat nutritious meals, their performance and behavior in school can suffer. And nearly 90 percent of the counties with the highest percentage of children at risk for food insecurity are rural. Geographic isolation, lack of transportation, and limited access to stores with fresh food are making it very difficult for many rural families to give their children the nutritious meals they need to grow and develop,” said Tamara Sandberg, Save the Children’s Senior Food Security Advisor. “Through the Rural Child Hunger Research and Innovation Lab, we want to inspire and embolden community leaders across rural America to develop and test their ideas for making food more accessible, affordable and dignified for rural families. Investing in game-changing ideas will help ensure that kids living in rural America’s most remote and under-resourced communities get the nourishing food they need to thrive as learners and in life.”

Save the Children will provide funding to design, test, pilot and incubate the innovative ideas of the selected rural community organizations – or lab grantees – and the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty will evaluate the initial implementation of the chosen solutions. The Rural Child Hunger Research and Innovation Lab’s Advisory Council, comprised of experts in child food insecurity and rural issues, will help ensure the lab’s primary goals are accomplished, offer recommendations on continuous improvement, and provide guidance and information on policies impacting food insecurity in rural communities.

“Across rural America, there are organizations rising to meet the challenge of food insecurity in their communities. This exciting program will allow us to learn from these approaches and how to most effectively address the problem of rural child food insecurity and its serious consequences on a large scale,” said Lab Advisory Council member Craig Gunderson, who is an economics professor and Snee Family Chair in Food Security at Baylor University.

Interested community organizations are asked to express their interest at by Oct. 14, 2022. Selected candidates will be invited to submit their applications by Nov. 11, 2022. The chosen ideas and lab grantees will be announced in December 2022, and will receive up to $100,000 in flexible funding, an incubation workshop to bring their idea to life, ongoing support from a team specialized in rural child hunger, and a community of peers addressing similar challenges.

Interested applicants must be associated with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or business, support low-income families with children, and have an innovative idea, program, or clear challenge you want to solve.

Learn more at

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding more than 100 years ago, we've been advocating for the rights of children worldwide. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming the future we share. Our results, financial statements and charity ratings reaffirm that Save the Children is a charity you can trust. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


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