A Veteran's Journey to Feeding 3,000 Hungry Children
Bloom marched down to the district office wielding her checkbook, only to be told they didn't need money—they needed someone to get food to kids on Fridays. The challenge didn't faze the 20-year veteran, who retired in 1998 as a lieutenant commander, the USS Constitution's first female executive officer. "I said, 'I can do that,'" Bloom says. "After being in the navy, it was no big deal."
Within months, Bloom and her husband used $10,000 of their own funds to launch End 68 Hours of Hunger, a nonprofit delivering food-filled backpacks to schools on Friday afternoons. It started with 19 kids at three schools; today, thanks to donations, sponsorships, and partnerships with grocery megachains, it has an annual budget of $1.2 million and feeds nearly 3,000 children in eight states and counting. Bloom, who works 20 to 30 hours a week, has never taken a salary. "There are 13 million hungry children in the U.S." she says. "If people want their communities to thrive, they have to ensure that their children thrive. It's as simple as that."