#GivingTuesday: It’s not about your turkey leftovers!

#GivingTuesday is not for “giving away” your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. Nope, it’s about you and I joining the masses of kind-hearted folks giving together online! Think of it as global crowdsourced kindness.

Originally, the Gates Foundation created Giving Tuesday as a response to Cyber Monday and Black Friday. I like this new holiday as it shifts the primary focus of our spending from our own needs towards the needs of others. So, Giving Tuesday is a special day where you and I can join forces and change the world by donating online to our favorite charities.

Think of all the money spent over #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday and how much good we can do together if we instead collect our “savings” and donate it to our favorite charities like Share Our Strength‘s #NoKidHungry initiative, which does a wonderful job of raising awareness and fighting childhood hunger.

This year Tyson Foods is the proud sponsor of the #NoKidHungry Holiday Give-A-Thon and will match your donations, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000 USD. How cool is that?! So now your #GivingTuesday donation dollars go farther: double in fact!

1 in 5 children in America go to bed hungry. We can CHANGE that stat ASAP.

Who:     YOU, your friends and me!

What:    Support #NoKidHungry on #GivingTuesday!
1.  Join the #ThunderClap
2.  Donate to No Kid Hungry!

              Every dollar you donate will be matched by Tyson Foods, up to $25,000! 

When:  #GivingTuesday is all day on Tuesday, December 3, 2013.
The Thunderclap event is at 12:00 p.m. EST, tomorrow, 12/3.

Where:   Online http://nokidhungry.org/givingtuesday

Why:       Today is our day to make a difference in the lives of young children that are hungry, right here in America. Do your part and join with us to eradicate hunger this holiday!

Thank you!

Coins for Kids Blends Service, Learning

Aleta Greer's elementary school class in Alpine, Calif., started Coins for Kids.

Share Our Strength will debut a new curriculum for its Coins for Kids program in March that may “make change” in the way students learn about money.
Aleta Greer, an elementary school teacher with the Alpine (Calif.) School District near San Diego, created the program last winter. The idea was to mesh identifying coins with the community service requirement of California’s educational standards. Students brought in spare change to fill plastic tubs, and the money was charted weekly before eventually being donated to SOS’ No Kid Hungry program.
Some of Greer’s students summed up the program with this cute video.
It was only supposed to be a two-week, service-learning project, but the results kept adding up. Coins for Kids eventually grew into a fourth-month campaign that raised $1,522 and the eyebrows of SOS’ program leaders.
The initiative was so smart and successful that the hunger-relief organization included it as a fundraising idea on its youth-action Web site No Kid Hungry2.
Now the nonprofit has charged Greer with developing a formal curriculum that teachers across the nation may implement to make learning – and giving – fun.
“The kids just wanted to keep going,” Greer said. “They made and sold music makers, we had a school-wide fundraising contest between classes and they just really looked forward to graphing their progress on Fridays.
“We started by asking them if they’ve ever been hungry and what that feels like. They had a very strong response.”
Greer got inspired last year while watching “Larry King Live.” Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges was on the show advocating for No Kid Hungry. Greer loved the vision, but saw an opportunity to add the component of kids helping kids.
A 34-year veteran of education, Greer said although it’s hard to know what jobs there will be in 20 years certainly teaching students to think more globally will be important. Coins for Kids teaches a number of skills, she said, including how to be good critical thinkers and collaborators.
Several local businesses got on board as well.
Manana’s, a family restaurant in Alpine, hosted a day where about 25 percent of their proceeds were donated for the cause. The Mission Federal Credit Union also let Greer’s class count its 80 pounds of coins without the standard 10 percent fee.
“We have even bigger plans to involve more businesses this year,” Greer said. “We’re also going to have an ice cream social, a wear orange day and several other things. It’s a lot of fun to see the kids do something selfless and realize the intrinsic job of what it means to help someone else.”
There were a number of inspirational takeaways, Greer said, including a “thank you” video from SOS co-founder Billy Shore. He promised that the money would go to feed as many hungry children as possible. He also urged the children to stay involved in their community.
“In our video you see several students, some of whom are very shy,” Greer said. “There’s also one boy who stutters, but none of them hesitated to participate because it meant so much to them. We had several goals when we started, and No. 1 was helping hungry kids.”
To learn more about starting a Coins for Kids initiative at your school, visit the No Kid Hungry2 Web site and click through “Leaders Tackle Hunger” to the “Fundraise” hyperlink. Also look for the curriculum update in March.


Child Hunger Facts:
• More than 16 million kids in America struggle with hunger. (Source: USDA Household Food Security in the United States). That’s one in five kids or over 21% of all kids.
• 10.6 million kids who are eligible for free or reduced-price school breakfast do not get it. (Source: Food Research and Action Center, School Breakfast Scorecard)
• 19 million kids get a free or reduced-price school lunch on an average school day. (Source: Food Research and Action Center, School Breakfast Scorecard)
• Five out of six eligible kids do not get free summer meals. (Source: Food Research and Action Center, “Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation: Summer Nutrition Status Report”
• 40.3 million people in America got help through SNAP (food stamps) in 2010; half of them (20.1 million) were children. (Source: USDA Food and Nutrition Services)
• 15.5 million children in America live in poverty. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports).
Source: Share Our Strength

Guest post: Bill Shore, Share Our Strength

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.

No Kid Hungry in Arkansas. A beginning.

Share Our Strength Founder and Executive Director Billy Shore announcing the No Kid Hungry in Arkansas initiative


Arkansas—our home state—ranks  11th in the U.S. among states for total agricultural production.  Lots of food produced here. 
Yet according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, it ranks #1—worst—among states with the highest percentage of children at risk of hunger.
Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe thinks it’s time something is done to erase that paradox.   That’s why he was very receptive when Share Our Strength approached him this past summer at the National Governors Conference with their No Kid Hungry state strategy.  

Their ensuing discussions resulted in an announcement on Friday of a new partnership focusing on drastically reducing childhood hunger in our home state. 

The collaboration brings parties to the table who have all worked toward alleviating hunger and poverty, yet who’ve never worked together as one before.  The lead agency in the effort, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, which includes all of the state’s major food banks, will help implement Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry strategy.  Other key players include state agencies, such as the Arkansas Department of Human Services; the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services; other non-profit organizations focusing on child welfare and hunger; and private sector partners. 

Because it’s going to take a collaborative effort to achieve this lofty goal.

Wal-Mart generously provided a $150,000 grant to ensure the effort is adequately funded to start.

We were at the announcement with a donation of 180,000 pounds to the state’s six food banks in support of the project. 

The three fundamental components of the strategy:
• Increasing access to public and private programs that provide food to children and their families.
• Strengthening community resources that connect children to healthy food.
• Improving families’ knowledge about available programs and how to get the most from limited resources.

Kudos to Governor Beebe and Share Our Strength for starting this process.  It’s up to all of us to see that it’s successful.

Hunger goes back to school

By Ed Nicholson

Today is the first day of school for many here in our home in Arkansas.  I always had mixed emotions about going back to school after summer break. But for many kids, it’s a huge relief, since they’re fed much better during the school year than in the summer.

I recently had a chance to speak with several school foodservice directors at the annual national conference of the School Nutrition Association.  They all–no matter where they serve–get to see child hunger up close.  Without exception they’re passionate about feeding kids, working with limited resources to make certain no child goes hungry.

Here, Adriane Robles, Director of Nutrition Services for the San Bernadino (CA) City Unified School District discusses child hunger in her district.