Bill Shore is founder and executive director of Share Our Strength and the author of “The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men”.
Together we’re going to end childhood hunger in America by 2015. How can I be so confident in our ability to defeat a problem as complex and widespread as childhood hunger in America? Because we’re doing it right now with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign™. We’re overcoming barriers that keep kids and families from healthy food they need to reach their full potential, making targeted investments in innovative programs across the country, and giving families the tools they need to nurture their children for the long term.
But we can’t underestimate what it’s going to take. Ending childhood hunger in America is going to take a lot of money, a lot of time, and a lot of dedicated supporters like you.
I want to tell you about one little boy whose life you have already touched. He received free meals all summer at a Boys & Girls Club in El Dorado, Arkansas, thanks to support from Share Our Strength. One day, a staff member noticed that he was stuffing his pockets with ketchup packets and he explained, “I save these and bring them home so my grandma and I can make tomato soup together.” As heart wrenching as this story is, it’s even more troubling when you realize how widespread this kind of hunger is for children in our country.
Childhood hunger lives in every community in America, from rural Tennessee to the urban communities of Los Angeles to the suburbs of Ohio. Children in the U.S. aren’t hungry because this nation lacks food or food programs. Children are hungry because they lack access to the programs that can help. For example, less than 50% of school children who are eligible for free school breakfast receive it.
We’re breaking down the barriers that keep children from the food they need by expanding local anti-hunger partnerships (for example, in October we launched a partnership with the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance and Governor Beebe to end child hunger in Arkanas) providing nutrition education through Cooking Matters (formerly Operation Frontline); supporting local emergency food programs; and shining a national spotlight on hunger through our No Kid Hungry Campaign.
If you haven’t already please lend your voice to this movement by taking the No Kid Hungry Pledge at http://www.nokidhungry.org. Together, we’re going to end childhood hunger in America. Thank you for sharing your strength.