TARRYTOWN, N.Y., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Kate Joyce, a former Peace Corps Volunteer from Baltimore, Md., credits the Chocolate Affair, a fundraiser to support the Center for Poverty Solutions, for introducing her to the Edible School Yard program. Joyce has become a leading advocate in the fight against hunger and was recognized by The Dannon Company as the 2004 Strike Out Hunger Challenge winner for her unique efforts in helping to fight hunger. The Dannon program recognized families and/or organizations that are helping to strike out hunger in America and specifically in their own communities. Joyce's award includes a $10,000 donation for her chosen charity, the Center for Poverty Solutions, and $1,000 in free groceries for her and her husband. "When I returned from the Peace Corps, I wanted to combine my love for gardening with my passion to help feed the hungry. The Edible School Yard program not only accomplished this, but also provided a wonderful platform to educate children about nutrition," said Joyce, who currently holds two part- time jobs, both associated with helping out her community. "While I don't have any children of my own, I feel that through my work, I can help teach children why it is so important to strike out hunger." Since Joyce started volunteering at the Center for Poverty Solutions, she has become a tireless advocate in the fight to strike out hunger by educating children and teachers on the importance of helping to end this sweeping hunger problem. Joyce has taken on many different roles at the Center for Poverty Solutions. She built an organic garden/outdoor classroom by introducing fresh produce into the daily diet of school children at low-income schools. She was responsible for assisting a group of children from a variety of schools in measuring the garden, building its beds and sowing donated plants. To ensure that horticulture and gardening is not forgotten, she has also developed a curriculum for teachers to follow when educating children on the subject, and hopes this knowledge will encourage the children to incorporate gardening and nutrition into their daily lives. "Kate Joyce's volunteer work at the Edible School Yard program is a true embodiment of the dedication and creativity that we were searching to identify with the Strike Out Hunger program," said Juan Carlos Dalto, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Dannon Company, Inc. "We hope that Joyce's commitment and drive serves as an inspiration to all Americans. We are pleased to reward Kate for the difference she is making in her community." Dannon and America's Second Harvest (A2H), the nation's largest organization of emergency food providers, partnered for the third straight year to help bring awareness to and educate the public about the growing problem of childhood hunger. The Strike Out Hunger program included the essay contest and a financial click-through donation program at dannon.com, which raised $100,000 (or 1.5 million meals) for A2H. Along with selecting Joyce as the grand prize winner, Dannon selected four runners up. The runners up each won $1,000 awarded to their chosen hunger charity and $1,000 each in free groceries for their families. Following is a list of the runners up: Jaime Parker, Bordentown, N.J. -- College-aged student, Jaime Parker volunteers at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) in Trenton, N.J. Her volunteer work includes full-time over school vacations and part-time during the week when school is in session. She is also responsible for tutoring students at TASK enrolled in the Adult Education Program. Senior Gleaners, Sacramento, Calif. -- The Senior Gleaners is an elderly, all volunteer, non-profit organization. The Gleaners supply food and household products to over 400 charities. In addition, they also hold a Basic Baby Needs Project which is dedicated to helping feed infants and toddlers by nourishing their diets and providing supplies. The program purchases and distributes baby food, formula, and diapers to struggling and food insecure families. Michelle Hartman, Carrollton, Texas. -- Michelle volunteers at the Metrocrest Food Pantry, where she turned her shopping hobby into a volunteer job. Michelle is an avid coupon saver; she collects coupons and purchases food which she in turn donates to the Metrocrest Food Pantry. Hartman finds creative ways to secure donations such as contacting managers of grocery stores going out of business to donate food and products. In 1998, her best year, she purchased nearly $7,000 worth of food for just under $500. Ruby Russell, Denver, Colo. -- Having previously experienced the pains of hunger, Ruby prioritizes volunteering. She not only volunteers at the Food Bank of the Rockies, but also runs her own hunger-relief program, the Heart Food Bank. This food bank is run from her home, but she willingly delivers food and essential items for those unable to come to her. In addition, she makes sure there are healthy snacks for Sunday School classes as well as after school refreshments. Her other activities include cooking and serving a monthly dinner at her church for those less fortunate. The Dannon Company, Inc., is a leading national producer of yogurt products in the United States with corporate headquarters in White Plains, NY, and plants in Minster, OH; Fort Worth, TX; and West Jordan, UT. With a strong commitment to high-quality, wholesome, nutritious and innovative products, Dannon produces about 6 million cups of yogurt each day in almost 100 flavors, styles and sizes. For more information about Dannon, visit the company's Web site at www.dannon.com. America's Second Harvest is the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization with a national network of more than 200 regional food banks and food-rescue programs, serving all 50 states and Puerto Rico. It distributes almost 2 billion pounds of donated food and grocery products annually. America's Second Harvest's network supports approximately 50,000 local charitable agencies, operating more than 94,000 food programs, including food pantries, soup kitchens, women's shelters, Kids Cafes and Community Kitchens. These local organizations provide emergency food assistance to 23 million hungry Americans, including more than 8 million children and 4 million seniors each year.
SOURCE The Dannon Company