9 Best Charities That Combat ARFID/ Food Intake Disorder (Complete 2024 List)

9 Best Charities That Combat ARFID/ Food Intake Disorder (Complete 2024 List)

By
Alycia O'Dell

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Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder that causes sufferers to avoid certain foods to the point of malnutrition. It is most common in children, and unlike other eating disorders, the sufferer is not concerned about body weight or shape. Treatment is crucial to regain healthy bodily function, but a lack of awareness and knowledge about the newly defined disorder prevents many from getting the help they need. Fortunately, organizations around the world are working to raise awareness, provide support, and increase access to treatment for people living with ARFID. So, we had to ask: what are the best charities that combat ARFID/ food intake disorder?

The best charities that combat ARFID/ food intake disorder are the National Eating Disorder Association and FEAST. Charities such as the Brain & Behavior Foundation and the Child Mind Institute work to improve treatment outcomes for ARFID/food intake disorder through awareness and research.

Whether you want to help a concerned parent differentiate ARFID from “picky eating”, increase understanding of ARFID by funding research, or ensure that everyone suffering from ARFID has access to quality treatment, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that combat ARFID/ food intake disorder are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Combat ARFID/ Food Intake Disorder Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements.

The majority operate primarily throughout the US and Canada, but some combat ARFID/ food intake disorder and other eating disorders internationally.

Many of these charities facilitate peer support for parents of children suffering from ARFID. Others seek to explore the complexities of the disorder to develop new and improved treatments.

Some also provide resources for mental health disorders that commonly co-occur with ARFID, such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and autism, while others focus solely on eating disorders.

Yet, they all share a common goal; to combat ARFID/ food intake disorder and help those affected to lead healthier lives. 

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Help Combat ARFID/ Food Intake Disorder in 2024

Below are our favorite charities that help combat ARFID/ Food Intake disorder (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

1

National Eating Disorders Association: Turning Suffering into Healing

Logo for National Eating Disorders Association
National Eating Disorders Association | See the Change, Be the Change

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives the National Eating Disorder Association a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Silver Seal of Transparency. 

Feeding hope.

National Eating Disorders Association

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What they do:

The National Eating Disorders Association combats eating disorders, including ARFID/ food intake disorder, through programs and services designed to support those affected in overcoming their illness. As those suffering from ARFID/ food intake disorder are often children, they offer resources to parents and caretakers to help them navigate their child’s eating disorder. For example, their free, downloadable Toolkits provide adults with important information on eating disorders and how to provide support. And, their website contains resources for recovery such as the Helpline, and access to an extensive list of treatment providers across the US. Furthermore, they host events such as NEDAWalk and NEDAwareness Week, which bring awareness and funding to the fight against eating disorders.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the National Eating Disorders Association has helped millions of people suffering from eating disorders, including ARFID, find the help and support they need. For example, in 2019 alone, their NEDAwareness Week campaign reached over 303.4 million people via social media, and more than 145,000 people completed the Eating Disorders Screening Tool. In the same year, they merged with the National Association for Men with Eating Disorders to support the 10 million males who suffer from eating disorders, including ARFID, and to reduce the stigmas that prevent men and boys from seeking help. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the National Eating Disorders Association via their website. You can also get involved by participating in a NEDAWalk event in your community or becoming a group support facilitator for The Body Project.

2

FEAST: Families Helping Families

Logo for FEAST
F.E.A.S.T. Principles

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Their transparency & ratings:

GuideStar gives FEAST a Gold Seal of Transparency. 

We are here because we’ve been there.

FEAST

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What they do:

FEAST’s programs and services provide support, information, skills, and tools to families of eating disorders patients, including those with ARFID/ food intake disorder, as they fight the disease. For example, their FEAST 30 Days program is designed to educate and empower caregivers through one virtual lesson a day for 30 days. As another example, their Around the Dinner Table Forum provides parents with peer support through a moderated online discussion board. Furthermore, they supply parents with printable quick reference pamphlets on topics related to eating disorders, such as nutrition and neurobiology, through their FEAST Family Guides Series.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, FEAST has supported over 10,000 families across 70 countries to help their loved ones navigate eating disorders, like ARFID. For example, in 2021, the Association provided education and resources on eating disorders to over 5,000 users through their website. In the same year, over 3,800 people registered for their FEAST 30 Days program, and over 2,800 people joined the Around the Dinner Table Forum and Facebook Community. Furthermore, they supported 1,200 parents and families affected by eating disorders, such as ARFID, through their parent support channels. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to FEAST via their website. You can also get involved by volunteering for a fundraising committee or as a technical specialist.

3

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation: Funding Mental Health Innovation

Logo for Brain and Behavior Research Foundation
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Overview

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Funding cutting-edge research to find cures for mental illness.

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

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What they do:

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation combats ARFID/ food intake disorder by funding the most innovative ideas in neuroscience. They do this by awarding grants to scientists researching new ways to understand, prevent, and treat eating disorders and other mental illnesses. For example, one of their 2016 grant recipients was part of a research team that studied brain circuits and eating disorders, guiding the future of treatments for ARFID and other eating disorders.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation has awarded more than $430 million to fund more than 6,200 grants in mental health research, with $3.7 million going toward research specifically for ARFID/ food intake disorder and other eating disorders. Their funding has directly contributed to some of the biggest breakthroughs in the mental health community, including non-invasive brain stimulation, computer-guided early diagnosis of mental illness, and optoelectronics which is a process that can control appetite suppression. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation via their website. You can also get involved by sponsoring an event or creating your own fundraiser.

4

Child Mind Institute: Mental Health in the Developing Brain

Logo for Child Mind Institute
No Child Should Suffer: 60 second PSA

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives the Child Mind Institute a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Reaching struggling kids wherever they are.”

Child Mind Institute

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What they do:

The Child Mind Institute helps children with mental health and learning challenges through three initiative areas: care, education, and science. Their care initiative offers evaluation and treatment for a wide variety of mental health concerns, like symptoms of ARFID/ food intake disorder. Their education initiative includes the Family Resource Center and School and Community Programs, which provide families and communities with resources to promote children’s mental health. In addition, their science initiative drives research into causes of mental health and learning challenges, including eating disorders, in developing brains and adapts treatments accordingly.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Child Mind Institute has treated more than 13,110 patients, over 75% of whom received services for free or at a reduced cost, including those with ARFID/food intake disorder. Their Healthy Brain Network has included more than 5,510 participants and the data has been cited in more than 1,289 research articles. In 2021 alone, more than 17 million people visited the organization’s website for free, evidence-based resources on children’s mental health, eating disorders, and learning challenges.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Child Mind Institute via their website. You can also register to participate in an event by attending or becoming a sponsor.

5

National Alliance for Eating Disorders: Recovery and Education

Logo for National Alliance for Eating Disorders
#WeAreAllianceSurvivors #GivingTuesdayNow

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives the National Alliance for Eating Disorders a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Walking you through recovery.

National Alliance for Eating Disorders

⚒️

What they do:

The National Alliance for Eating Disorders provides support to people suffering from eating disorders, such as ARFID/ food intake disorder, through education, referrals, and advocacy. For example, they facilitate the initial phase of recovery through their referral services, including their national database of providers, which connects people with eating disorders to treatment options at all levels of care. Furthermore, they host free, weekly support groups for families of children suffering from ARFID/ food intake disorder; these therapist-led sessions provide participants with a community of understanding and support. Additionally, they spread awareness of eating disorders through community outreach projects and education.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the National Alliance for Eating Disorders has impacted the lives of thousands of people affected by ARFID and other eating disorders. For example, in 2021 alone, their referral services helped 163,398 people start their journey toward recovery. In the same year, 16,953 people participated in their support groups, and 29,415 people attended their educational events.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the National Alliance for Eating Disorders via their website. You can also get involved by volunteering or interning with the organization, or attending an event.

6

Project HEAL: Ensuring Treatment Equity

Logo for Project HEAL
Meet Project HEAL Co-Founders

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Project HEAL a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

We open doors to healing for those who the system fails.

Project HEAL

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What they do:

Project HEAL helps people who might typically struggle to receive care to gain access to quality treatment for eating disorders such as ARFID, specifically members of the LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and other marginalized communities. For example, their Clinical Assessment Program provides free, impartial, and culturally competent screenings to anyone in the US who believes they or someone they know might be suffering from an eating disorder, like ARFID/ food intake disorder. Furthermore, their Treatment Placement Program provides beneficiaries with extended treatment within their HEALers Circle network of providers at little to no cost. And, they provide cash assistance when needed, and also offer Insurance Navigation.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Project HEAL has improved treatment equity for thousands of people across the US seeking access to treatment for eating disorders, including ARFID. For example, in 2021, they provided over $2 million in free treatment services to underserved communities. Furthermore, in 2020, they formalized a partnership with the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders to merge their peer-support services, allowing them to help even more people suffering from eating disorders such as ARFID/food intake disorder.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Project HEAL via their website. You can also get involved by becoming a Project HEAL Ambassador, or by volunteering.

7

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders: Peer Support for Healing

Logo for National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
ANAD | Who We Are

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Their transparency & ratings:

GuideStar gives the National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders a Silver Seal of Transparency. 

Eating disorder recovery is possible. ANAD is here to help.

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Related Disorders

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What they do:

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders combats ARFID/ food intake disorder through peer support services. Their network of volunteers is composed of eating disorder survivors who provide various levels of support to those still suffering. For instance, their Eating Disorder Helpline provides users with instant access to basic support, while their Recovery Mentor program pairs patients and volunteers one-on-one to provide more in-depth, long-term support. Additionally, their virtual peer support groups connect people with eating disorders with other sufferers to create a community of guidance and understanding. Furthermore, they disseminate educational materials, such as their Support at Every Stage guide, to loved ones of those struggling with an eating disorder.

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What they’ve achieved:

Today, the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders serves over 200 people every week through their 11 virtual support groups, helpline, and mentorship program, including those with ARFID. They have also remained committed to supporting the needs of diverse communities that often lack the necessary resources they need to heal. For example, their peer support group program includes several special interest groups, including LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and teens and young adults. Furthermore, in 2021, they proposed a set of guidelines to promote inclusive care in treatment centers across the US. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders via their website. You can also get involved by becoming a Helpline volunteer, Recovery Mentor, or a Peer Support Group Leader.

8

National Alliance on Mental Illness: Raising Awareness and Providing Resources

Logo for National Alliance on Mental Illness
Welcome To NAMI

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives the National Alliance on Mental Illness a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum rating for transparency. 

“Changing the mental health conversation, together.”

National Alliance on Mental Illness

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What they do:

The National Alliance on Mental Illness improves the lives of those with eating disorders, like ARFID/ food intake disorder, and other mental health disorders through advocacy, education, support, and public awareness. For example, their education program features classes for people with mental illness as well as stakeholders such as family members, significant others, and providers. They also provide peer support to those seeking guidance and resources via their 24-hour HelpLine. In addition, they provide comprehensive information about mental illnesses commonly seen in childhood, such as ARFID/ food intake disorder, including treatment options, and how to cope if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms.

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What they’ve achieved:

The National Alliance on Mental Illness helps people struggling with their mental health, including ARFID/ food intake disorder, through their network of over 600 affiliates and 49 state organizations across the US. For example, in 2021, they distributed $3.5 million in grants to advance the work of their network and to support more people. In the same year, their annual fundraiser, NAMIWalks Your Way raised $13.1 million across 122 events with over 40,000 participants nationwide. In addition, the charity’s advocacy efforts were integral to the launch of the 988 crisis number, a helpline for those suffering from anxiety, eating disorders, depression, and suicidal thoughts. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the National Alliance on Mental Illness via their website. You can also contribute by registering to participate in NamiWalks Your Way or by volunteering to work on the HelpLine.

9

Mental Health America: Action Before Crisis

Logo for Mental Health America
Understanding our #B4Stage4 Philosophy

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Mental Health America a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Crisis is not a starting point.”

Mental Health America

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What they do:

Mental Health America promotes mental health and the prevention of mental illnesses, including ARFID, through advocacy, education, research, and integrative services. For example, through education and outreach, they help people of all ages better understand the prevention, early identification, and intervention of mental illnesses such as ARFID and commonly co-occurring disorders. Moreover, their network of over 200 affiliates work with state and local policymakers to develop policies that promote mental health, including Medicaid expansion. In addition, they offer peer-to-peer support through their Peer Partners Program and provide resources on becoming a Peer Support Specialist. They also provide clinically validated screens for mental illness that commonly occur with eating disorders via their MHA Screening program.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Mental Health America has educated millions of people about mental illness, including eating disorders such as ARFID, and reduced barriers to treatment and services. For example, through their MHA Screening program, they have screened over 7.4 million individuals. Furthermore, in 2020 alone, their public education efforts reached more than 19 million people and they directly impacted 208,000 people suffering from mental health issues through their support services, including eating disorders. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Mental Health America via their website. You can also get involved by joining their advocacy movement or creating your own fundraiser.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that combat ARFID/ food intake disorder. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know if your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. Charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to combating ARFID/ food intake disorder – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Alycia

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

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