September is No Kid Hungry MonthMore than 16 million kids in America live in households that struggle to put food on the table. That’s one in five kids. Sixteen million kids would fill eight-hundred and forty-five basketball arenas. ~

That’s only children in America, that number does not reflect international data. How shocking would that amount be? Staggering statistics such as the above are the focus of the Share Our Strength organization’s September “No Kid Hungry” campaign to ensure that hungry children can get the healthy food they need. While the organization focuses special attention on the cause this month, there’s no question to the daily year-round challenge we face, both globally and across the U.S. “The No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. The campaign also engages the public to make ending childhood hunger a national priority.”

The No Kid Hungry campaign works to shine a national spotlight on the crisis of childhood hunger in America, supporting a powerful movement to foster community outreach, advocate policy change, and encourage education. Through its Cooking Matters program, for example, the No Kid Hungry campaign educates and empowers low-income families to stretch their food budgets so their kids get healthy meals at home. Cooking Matters participants learn to shop strategically, use nutrition information to make healthier food choices, and cook delicious, affordable meals.

Share Our Strength has a strong history of success, but “began in the basement of a row house on Capitol Hill in 1984, in response to the ‘84-‘85 famine in Ethiopia.” Brother and sister Bill and Debbie Shore started their organization to combat global hunger and poverty with sustainable solutions.

Four years later, the first Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation event raised nearly $250,000 in a single day, with 25 of the nation’s best restaurants holding food and wine tastings to support it. In 1993, the company celebrated the launch of Operation Frontline (now Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters), a groundbreaking program that taught low-income families about food and how to cook healthy meals on a limited budget.

Beginning in 2006 Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry pilot programs reached out to hungry children in communities across the country,”with dedicated focus on connecting kids to summer meals and school breakfast programs, and helping families provide nutritious food at home.”  The following year, the Food Network selected Share Our Strength as its exclusive charity of choice, beginning a lasting partnership to bring “No Kid Hungry” home to its millions of viewers.

In 2008, Share Our Strength’s Great American Dine Out (now called Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry) engaged 3,900 restaurants coast-to-coast and raised $575,000 that first year. The organization won a Cause Marketing Forum Golden Halo Award for outstanding leadership in cause marketing the next year. By 2010, Share Our Strength reported a record $24.8 million in revenue earned through fundraising platforms, donations and 35 corporate sponsorships.

Last year, the company’s corporate partner Food Network premieres “Hunger Hits Home,” a primetime documentary that powerfully tells the story of hardworking American families struggling with hunger, and how the No Kid Hungry campaign is working to end that struggle.

To donate or join the No Kid Hungry team in your community, visit www.nokidhungry.orgCasandra Armour

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