From the Field

4 ways World Vision tackles poverty in the United States

At World Vision, we’re called to serve the most vulnerable children and their communities around the world, including right here in the United States. And we do it by engaging churches and organizations and providing a way for manufacturers and businesses to share excess resources with people struggling with poverty. In 2022, we were able to reach 3.6 million people children and adults through our various U.S. ministries.

Here are the top four ways we are tackling poverty in the United States.

A woman sits between her two children on a couch, reading a book to them.
Euvelis and her children, 11-year-old Andres and 8-year-old Valeria, left turmoil in their home country of Venezuela for Chicago. Partnering with local church Grace and Peace, World Vision donated furniture to help them create a cozy home. (©2023 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)

1. Donated products

World Vision helps alleviate poverty in the United States by providing families, schools, churches, and community organizations with products donated by U.S. manufacturers and corporations. We distribute these products through our national network of more than 3,000 partner organizations. World Vision’s seven storehouse locations include Appalachia (located in Philippi, WV); Chicago; Greater New York (located in Bronx, NY); Hartford, Connecticut; Pittsburgh; North Texas (located in Grand Prairie, TX); and the Pacific Northwest (located in Fife, WA).

Most of these sites include Essential Supplies Centers, Building Materials Centers, and Teacher Resource Centers.

World Vision has also expanded our reach through 55 affiliate partners across the country who receive regular truckloads of donated products to be distributed to people in need.

Products donated include furniture, office and school supplies, hygiene products, cleaning supplies, appliances, furniture, clothing, toys, building materials, books, seasonal decorations, and other items. In 2022, we distributed pallets of resources in the U.S. valued at nearly $199 million.

One way you can give essential products, like a winter coat, to a child in need is through the World Vision Gift Catalog.

Volunteers unload buckets of relief supplies from a truck. Children carrying a bucket together are in the foreground.
Elijah (center) and Charlotte help by unloading a bucket of World Vision disaster response cleaning supplies for people hit hard by the 2021 tornadoes that swept through Kentucky and neighboring states. (©2021 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)

2. Disaster response

When a major disaster strikes a U.S. community such as the tornadoes that swept through the Southeast in 2021, and the Maui fires in 2023 — World Vision staff jump into action to make sure children are protected and their families find relief during their time of crisis. Our response teams can act quickly after disasters because of pre-positioned emergency relief supplies at our warehouses across the country.

We also work with our network of more than 3,000 churches and nonprofits around the country to identify needs, assess damage, and get supplies out to those who need them most.

Three men stand in a circle praying together.
Pastor Jerry Haynes (far right) of Kirbyville, Texas and World Vision’s Mike Bassett (center) pray with Chad Dinkel of Purpose Church following Hurricane Ida. (©2021 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)

In many of the hardest-hit communities, World Vision staff work with Pastor Ambassadors who bring firsthand experience of our disaster response efforts and offer prayer, guidance, and mentorship to equip leaders for effective and lasting community care.

World Vision served more than 80,000 people through our disaster response in fiscal year 2022. If a community needs ongoing support, World Vision stays beyond the initial relief and recovery phases to offer support as the community rebuilds.

Supporting our disaster response efforts in the U.S. will provide relief when disaster survivors need it most.

Two women hold up a tablet for a little girl to read from.
Teacher Jimena Rivas (left) and mom Alicia (right) work with Alicia’s daughter, Ana Brenda (pictured at 3), in the Head Start classroom. One tool they use is WorldReader’s BookSmart app on a tablet donated by World Vision. (©2022 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)

3. Education

In addition to our Essential Supplies and Building Materials Centers, World Vision offers resources for teachers, schools, and their students at Title I schools through our six Teacher Resource Centers (TRCs) around the country.

When families can’t afford to buy basic school supplies for their kids, their teachers and school leaders often provide them out of their personal budget. At World Vision Teacher Resource Centers, they get to stock up on free school supplies, classroom materials, books, and games a few times per year to keep students engaged in lessons. We also have a Mobile TRC, which allows us to reach vulnerable communities that aren’t close to any of our warehouses.

This ministry reached more than 169,000 students and teachers nationwide with more $3.2 million worth of product.

A man hands out backpacks to a group of children gathered around him.
MarJon Beauchamp, an NBA player with the Milwaukee Bucks, held a backpack distribution in Yakima, Washington, in August 2023. He partnered with World Vision to provide backpacks filled with school supplies as well as socks, diapers, make-up kits, Lysol wipes, household items, grills, and bikes. (©2023 World Vision/photo by Amy Van Drunen)

In late summer and early autumn, World Vision partners with athletes to host backpack drives. The athletes work with World Vision to give back to their communities and ensure that the kids start the school year equipped for success.

The year 2023 also saw the development of the Classroom Wellbeing Kits (and distribution of 940 of them), which provide teachers critical tools to help students struggling with behavioral issues, self-management, and relationship skills. Each kit contains a teacher handbook with fun, user-friendly classroom activities and items that encourage students to self-regulate their emotions and focus on their studies. Under-resourced schools across the U.S. are receiving Classroom Wellbeing Kits through partner organizations and our TRCs.

World Vision runs an after-school tutoring and mentoring program for at-risk students, called KidREACH. In 2023, 140 children participated in KidREACH after school programming. The kids also received 325 hours of academic assistance and 6,315 meals.

World Vision also expanded its partnership with Worldreader by including access to Worldreader’s digital literacy app in the Classroom Wellbeing Kits. The app — called BookSmart — includes over 400 books in a variety of languages. In 2023, more than 1,204 regular readers used the app.

You can provide school supplies to tangibly encourage a child in their studies.

A young man adds a box to the top of a stack of boxes with World Vision logos.
Terrence is part of a program for young adults with disabilities who volunteer at World Vision’s Storehouse in Hartford, Connecticut. He says, “It’s like working at a real job — like doing stocking at a store … It’s really good work experience.” (©2023 World Vision/photo by Amy Van Drunen)

4. Volunteer program

Volunteers are essential to our ministry’s impact. They come from all walks of life, including churches, schools, corporations, and groups for students with disabilities. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteer hours took a hit but began to rebound in 2022, when 2,947 people donated 36,423 hours of their time. This saved World Vision more than $1 million in labor costs, which allowed us to invest more in the ministry to help vulnerable people in America.

Learn more about how you can get involved with us through volunteering.

 

Laura Reinhardt and Amy Van Drunen of World Vision’s U.S. staff contributed to this article.

U.S. Work

View All Stories
A girl sitting in a classroom raises her hand while looking over her shoulder.
From the Field

New school supplies are like “Christmas morning” for students & teachers

A smiling girl looks at the camera while holding a brand-new pink backpack.
From the Field

What you need to know about World Vision’s U.S. work in photos and videos