Most people like to share great ideas and opportunities with their friends. That is what happened when David Cohen, the current chairman of the board of The Children’s Hunger Project, got a call from his buddy Bob Barnes. But instead of discussing a potential business venture, Barnes wanted to talk about changing the lives of children in Brevard County. He spoke of elementary aged youngsters who, without their help, would go hungry every weekend when the school lunch program isn’t available.
At first Cohen was skeptical that in Brevard, where people are launched into space, children were coming to school hungry. But as he researched the facts, the answers were shocking and inescapable.
Cohen observed, “The most objective indicator is the number of children participating in the free and reduced price meal programs at public schools. That is the key gauge of hunger risk and poverty in a geographic area. In Brevard County the number of students participating is almost 50 percent (the national average is 17 percent)!” Then he added, “Did you have any idea the numbers were that high? If not, then you surely do not know that in some Brevard schools,
the number is as low as 8 percent, while in other schools it exceeds 80 percent!”
Once Cohen saw how widespread the problem was and the impact hunger had on children’s health, educational performance and self-esteem, he was fully and passionately engaged. He joined Barnes and two other friends Sam Jordan and Jean-Yves Clerc, who had been packing food they had bought in Jordan’s kitchen.
The four quickly turned their burden into The Children’s Hunger Project, which has taken off like a rocket. Currently, they are in 22 of the county’s 38 elementary schools and they are feeding 1,000 children a week, utilizing a full- time facility for storage and packing, instead of Jordon’s kitchen.
The concept is brilliant in its simplicity, which Cohen says is one of the secrets of their success. “Some problems are so complex and so far away that people don’t know what to do. But this is right in our backyard and is easy to remedy. We provide nutritious, kid-friendly food items, which they can take home in a backpack over the weekend. This enables and empowers these kids to control a situation that they have had no control over, namely access to food.”
Next to the incredible impact the program is having, The Children’s Hunger Project’s personal and corporate sponsors causes Cohen to radiate with enthusiasm. “Mark Nyquist from Winn-Dixie has been an incredible partner, facilitating food purchases and delivery, as well as marshaling an army of Winn-Dixie volunteers. Fred Maxik, chief technology officer of Lighting Science Group, Bruce Nelson of Coastal and Cocoa Hyundai and Bryan Price of Jersey Mike’s Subs, have given us extrodinary support.” It’s a list which continues to grow.
The Cohen Group at Morgan Stanley
David A. Cohen, CIMA is a Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor and the senior member of the Cohen Group at Morgan Stanley.
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, a global leader, provides access to a wide range of products and services to individuals, businesses and institutions, including brokerage and investment advisory services, financial and wealth planning, credit and lending, cash management, annuities and insurance, retirement and trust services.
The Cohen Group at Morgan Stanley is dedicated to developing a unique approach with each one of our clients. “It is important for us to be sure that our clients feel that they are at the center of our operations, the key to all of our ideas and the core of our entire investment philosophy.”
Leveraging the experience which Cohen has developed in dealing with ultra-high net worth clients and their unique issues, he and his expanded team are able to bring this unparalleled level of service and sophistication to the average investor.
“As Financial Advisors, our role is to work with you, to help you develop a plan that lays out a clear path to your goals, a plan that we develop in collaboration with you and one that you can follow with confidence regardless of the market’s ups and downs.”
For further information about David Cohen and Morgan Stanley, please visit morganstanleyfa.com/thecohengroup.