Blogging for good

NKH blogger visit photo

Getting advice from experts on breakfast in the classroom

When we started getting involved in hunger relief almost fifteen years ago, our first partner was Share Our Strength. There we encountered a large, vibrant community of folks who were passionate about ending hunger. When social media began emerging in the mid 2000’s,
we saw other communities come together online, and thought, “Wouldn’t it be tremendous if these digital tools could bring the hunger community together?” We started this blog in September 2007 for that very reason.

Today, we’re proud to say that our friends at Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry have one the best social media teams out there, doing an excellent job of growing their vibrant community and creating awareness for the issue of childhood hunger. It’s our great pleasure to sponsor their blogger network.

Last week, we had the privilege, along with the No Kid Hungry digital team, of hosting three members of the blogging network, in addition to two great northwest Arkansas bloggers at our corporate headquarters, to discuss how the blogger network can be made stronger and more robust. We had some excellent discussion.

Thanks so much to Becky Tarala, author of The Two Bite Club;  Josi Del Papa, who pens The American Mama and Dawn McCoy, creator of Beauty Frosting (among other things).   Also joining were Laurie Marshall of Junque Rethunque (among other things) and James Moore of busvlogger.

We got a chance to visit an after-school feeding program and a breakfast in the classroom program to see direct evidence of the work No Kid Hungry is doing in Arkansas.   A big shoutout to Fayetteville Public Schools and Springdale Public Schools for many kids they’re feeding with these programs.  We also got an excellent overview from Rachel Townsend, director of Cooking Matters for No Kid Hungry Arkansas, of the work they’re doing in the state.

It was good fun, good people, and lively, enlightening discussion. Check their blogs for some excellent content. And thanks to all for the energy and insights on how to make online communities work for No Kid Hungry.

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.