WASHINGTON (PRNewswire-USNewswire) — Share Our Strength, the leading national nonprofit ending childhood hunger in America, joined USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon, Celebrity Chef John Currence, Arby's Foundation president Kate Atwood and No Kid Hungry Ally Hunger Free Heartland to announce the 13 organizations in 12 states chosen as No Kid Hungry Allies to connect kids to federal nutrition programs across the country.
"We are deepening our state impact in 2012 by partnering with 13 organizations in 12 states to launch the No Kid Hungry Allies program," said Tom Nelson, President of Share Our Strength on a call with media today. "The Allies chosen demonstrated a commitment to making the No Kid Hungry campaign model work in their community which means bringing together governors, mayors, businesses, chefs, federal and state agencies, educators and community leaders to connect children at risk of hunger with food and nutrition programs where they live, learn and play."
More than 16 million children in the U. S. are at risk of hunger. Studies show that kids who face hunger can have trouble focusing and getting along, complain often of headaches, stomachaches and other ailments. The No Kid Hungry Allies program is part of the national No Kid Hungry campaign which helps connect kids to federal nutrition programs, paired with access to food education on how to cook healthy, affordable meals through Cooking Matters.
Federal food and nutrition programs such as the School Breakfast Program and Summer Meals Programs provide kids with access to healthy foods. For many reasons, these programs are not always easy for children to access. For example, in 2011, while more than 21 million kids in the U.S. receive free and reduced-price school lunches, just over 3 million of these kids get a free summer meal.
"USDA's federal nutrition assistance programs provide a valuable safety net against hunger and are critical to the health and well being of many Americans, especially children," said USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon. "Public-private partnerships like the ones created through the No Kid Hungry campaign bring resources together and help us reach the goal of ending childhood hunger."
The No Kid Hungry campaign is at work in all 50 states through No Kid Hungry state-based campaigns in 18 states, the No Kid Hungry Allies program in 12 states, Cooking Matters in 27 states, numerous local community partners and Share Our Strength's fundraising platforms.
Organizations selected to be part of the No Kid Hungry Allies program receive a $25,000 grant to support their efforts to increase participation in federal food and nutrition programs including the School Breakfast Program and Summer Meals Programs, and to help them build coalitions for ending childhood hunger in their communities.
"As a chef, I am surrounded by food every day and I understand the importance of having a nutritious meal," said Chef John Currence. "I can't imagine in a country with such an abundance of food that children are going hungry. That is why the work that Share Our Strength and the Ally organizations are doing to end childhood hunger is so critical to states, cities, communities and families across thecountry."
In addition to the grant, these organizations will have access to the No Kid Hungry Center for Best Practices and other resources that are proven to help end childhood hunger and support from the No Kid Hungry campaign including consulting, educational and networking opportunities.
"Hunger Free Heartland is excited to be chosen as a No Kid Hungry Ally," said Sue Arment, Director of Hunger Free Heartland and representative of the No Kid Hungry Allies. "By joining Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign we will be able to share our local organization's strengths, not only with our community, but with efforts across the country to end childhood hunger."
The No Kid Hungry Allies program is funded by Share Our Strength, with support from the Arby's Foundation.
"We believe that every child should have access to the food they need to learn, play and grow," said Kate Atwood, Executive Director of the Arby's Foundation. "That is why we are pleased to support the No Kid Hungry Allies program and believe strengthening the reach of the No Kid Hungry campaign will help ensure more communities across the country are one step closer to ending childhood hunger."
National No Kid Hungry efforts are supported by Share Our Strength's national corporate and foundation partners - including core partners ConAgra Foods Foundation, Walmart and the Food Network. The following is a listing of the organizations selected to be part of the No Kid Hungry Allies program class of 2012. Visit www.Strength.org to learn more about Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign.
To learn more about the No Kid Hungry Allies, visit www.Strength.org/State_Partnerships.