Girls enjoying a healthy meal at a summer meals kick-off event.
At USDA, we value the work of the many partners who administer and support our diverse and far-reaching nutrition assistance programs. In my hometown of Chicago, an inspiring group has been meeting year-after-year to ensure that child hunger in the metropolitan area and beyond is eliminated. In this post, Illinois Hunger Coalition’s Diane Doherty explains the important work this group performs.
By Diane Doherty, Executive Director, Illinois Hunger Coalition
On a perfect summer day in June, the Illinois Hunger Coalition joined the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Catholic Charities of Chicago, the Illinois State Board of Education and other members of the Chicago Summer Food Work Group for its annual summer meals kick-off event. The event, which is part of the work group’s efforts to raise awareness and increase participation in the summer meal programs, was held this year at Armour Square Park on Chicago’s South Side. Read more »
The No Kid Hungry New Mexico Campaign, an initiative of the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger, is gaining partners and momentum. The campaign is less than a year old, but already progress has been made on the 2011 goals: Increasing participation in the summer meals program, school breakfast, and SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It’s so important to connect eligible people with the federal nutrition safety net. And that is exactly what Share Our Strength and its partners are doing in New Mexico and across the nation to end childhood hunger.
Part of the No Kid Hungry New Mexico campaign centers on school breakfast, an area of special interest to me. I can see the potential to reach more children just by changing the way breakfast is offered to students. A healthy breakfast makes a big impact on a child’s well being – physically and mentally. That translates to better attentiveness, performance and behavior in school, too. This method also eliminates the stigma for low-income children of coming to school early for a free breakfast in the cafeteria. And many children simply can’t get to school before the first bell. Read more »
Like a broken street light, childhood hunger impacts the well-being of the community and will only be fixed when the local community recognizes it, takes an interest, and decides to address it. When those who care come together, pool their talents, and take advantage of available resources, things start to happen. Things get fixed.
The city of Dallas is getting serious about ending childhood hunger. Just a month after the October kick-off of the No Kid Hungry Texas campaign, local leaders came together for a hunger summit in Dallas in November. The diverse line-up of speakers was inspiring! There were leaders from Congress, all levels of government, faith-based organizations, food banks, non-profit organizations and schools. Every speaker was passionate and convincing about the need and ability to end childhood hunger. Read more »
Last month I spoke to food bank leaders at the Feeding America Central Region conference, which was held in Baton Rouge, La., and hosted by the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Attendees came from over 20 states to strategize about meeting the challenges of these tough economic times. Feeding America’s food banks help supply thousands of food pantries and emergency food sites across the U.S. and are among the many charitable organizations working hard to figure out ways to deal with decreased donations and a higher demand for food.
I told the group that it’s important that they continue to get the word out to food bank clients that USDA nutrition assistance is available to folks who meet the eligibility standards. Programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women Infants and Children program (WIC) still provide critical aid to individuals and families that may experience food insecurity. I also reminded them to encourage parents in their communities to enroll their children in school lunch and breakfast. School meals help ease the burden on families to provide three meals a day to the children in their households. Read more »
Staff from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Southwest regional office was pleased to join the national non-profit, Share Our Strength, in Albuquerque, for the launch of their No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger in New Mexico.
The No Kid Hungry campaign is a public-private partnership between a diverse coalition of non- profit groups, the Food and Nutrition Service, the state of New Mexico, Share our Strength and the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger. In New Mexico, only one-third of eligible children participate in the Summer Food Service Program and only a little over half of children who are eligible eat breakfast at school. Read more »
SERO Regional Administrator Don Arnette assists SNAP client Maria Salgado with bagging the fresh fruits and vegetables she purchased at the Jackson Memorial Foundation Green Market, Miami, Fla., with her SNAP benefits.
I was recently able to participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony with community partners and Florida state and city officials at the Jackson Memorial Foundation Green Market in honor of the farmers market now accepting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) EBT cards and the Womens, Infants and Children (WIC) Fruit and Vegetable Vouchers, in Miami, Fla. The Jackson Green Market is currently the only farmers market in Florida authorized to accept the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable WIC vouchers. Shoppers were also able to use their SNAP EBT cards to purchase fresh produce at the discount of $5 off their total purchase compliments of a grant from the Health Foundation of South Florida. Read more »