Private-Public Partnership Aims to Connect More Los Angeles Children to School Breakfast and Child Care Nutrition Programs
LOS ANGELES, March 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Academy Award® Winner and No Kid Hungry® National Campaign Spokesperson Jeff Bridges, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley, Food Network TV host and celebrity chef Guy Fieri, and community, business, education and government leaders announced the launch of the Los Angeles No Kid Hungry Campaign, a countywide public-private partnership with Share Our Strength,® California Food Policy Advocates and the Walmart Foundation that will work to connect more than 600,000 children and teens to school breakfast and child care nutrition programs.
"More than 17 million children in the U.S. don't have reliable access to the food they need to lead healthy, active lives. But our kids aren't hungry because we lack food or because of a lack of food and nutrition programs," said Bridges, a long-time hunger advocate and founder of the End Hunger Network who spoke at the launch event. "They are hungry because they lack access to the nutritious food they need to grow and thrive."
Here in Los Angeles, more than 1 million children and teens are eligible for subsidized meals and may be at risk of hunger. The School Breakfast Program and Child Care Food Program (CCFP) provide children with nutritious meals while in school and at day care. However, more than 70 percent of children are eligible for, but don't participate in, school breakfast and more than 45 percent of child care homes and centers are not enrolled in the CCFP.
Share Our Strength, a national organization working to end childhood hunger, and California Food Policy Advocates, a statewide nutrition policy and advocacy organization, have set a goal of increasing participation in school breakfast by 10 percent in the first year, primarily through building on BreakfastFirst, an initiative also led by California Food Policy Advocates to encourage schools to drastically increase school breakfast participation. With support from lead sponsor Walmart, Share our Strength is investing more than $250,000 in the first year of the Los Angeles No Kid Hungry Campaign.
"This partnership could not come at a more critical time for our City," said Mayor Villaraigosa. "Los Angeles families have been hit extraordinarily hard by the economic downturn, and we need strong public-private partnerships to help deliver some of the services that many needy citizens depend upon. The No Kid Hungry Campaign will be funded primarily with private dollars which will be used to increase participation in federal nutrition programs. These programs will bring in more federal funding to pay for the breakfasts, lunches, and snacks our most vulnerable young students need to succeed in the classroom."
Partners also plan to increase enrollment in the CCFP by 10 percent by working closely with elected officials and community leaders to make better use of available federal nutrition funds, and by providing nutrition trainings to centers to help improve the quality of food and beverages served in child care.
"The health and wellbeing of our nation is dependent on the health of our children," said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. "No child should ever have to go hungry. USDA programs provide low-income kids nutritious meals during the school year and in the summer so they can learn, grow, and reach their full potential to help America win the future. But we know that our strength comes from our partnerships, and it will take everyone - government agencies, educators, elected officials, corporations, advocates and community leaders - to ensure that our children have a healthy start in life."
Share Our Strength is spearheading the national No Kid Hungry Campaign, in addition to state and city campaigns and is working closely with the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service who administers nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Breakfast and Child and Adult Care Food Program, to increase access to the programs at the national, state and local level.
"Walmart is proud to partner with the No Kid Hungry Campaign to help draw attention to the important issue of childhood hunger that many children, families and communities across our state face every day," said Kimberly Sentovich, senior vice president of the Pacific Division for Walmart. "In the last two years, the Walmart Foundation has given $3.7 million towards eradicating hunger in Los Angeles. Our work here today is an important part of that effort."
"Our focus is on long-term change, the difference between just feeding a child today and making sure no child in the U.S. ever goes hungry again," said Billy Shore, founder and executive director of Share Our Strength who also spoke at the campaign launch. "Our No Kid Hungry Campaigns provide resources to the most effective anti-hunger organizations and build partnerships that bring together private funders, public officials and nonprofit organizations. We're pleased to be partnering with California Food Policy Advocates for this campaign and together we can make sure our kids are getting the nutritious food they need."
Share Our Strength supports No Kid Hungry Campaigns in 11 other states and will launch six more in 2011, including the Connecticut campaign on March 23. Other No Kid Hungry partnerships have seen tremendous success. The Partnership to End Childhood Hunger in Maryland helped increase summer meals participation by 10 percent in 2010 compared to summer 2009 and the Campaign to End Childhood Hunger in Colorado helped increase the number of summer meals served in 2010 by 26 percent over 2009.
"This initiative will give us the opportunity to mobilize new partners to strengthen these vital nutrition programs," said Matthew Sharp, a senior advocate at California Food Policy Advocates who also spoke at the event. "Working hand in hand with Share Our Strength, Mayor Villaraigosa, education leaders, business leaders and community leaders, we can end childhood hunger in Los Angeles and nationwide."
Bridges recorded a Los Angeles No Kid Hungry school breakfast radio public service announcement which was released today to radio stations. The campaign launch was hosted at Figueroa Street Elementary School in South Los Angeles. Representatives from across the state and country attended the announcement, including representatives from ConAgra Foods and Food Network, Share Our Strength Core Partners. Go to www.NoKidHungry.org/LosAngeles to learn more.
About Share Our Strength
Share Our Strength®, a national nonprofit, is ending childhood hunger in America by connecting children with the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives. Through its No Kid Hungry® Campaign—a national effort to end childhood hunger in America by 2015— Share Our Strength ensures children in need are enrolled in federal nutrition programs, invests in community organizations fighting hunger, teaches families how to cook healthy, affordable meals, and builds public-private partnerships to end hunger, nationally and at the state and city levels. Visit www.Strength.org to get involved.
About California Food Policy Advocates
California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) is a statewide nutrition policy and advocacy organization whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of low-income Californians by increasing their access to nutritious, affordable food. CFPA, which has operated a Los Angeles office since 1997, focuses strategically on increasing access to the federal nutrition programs, expanding participation in those programs, and improving their nutrition quality, to prevent both food insecurity and childhood obesity. Visit www.CFPA.net for more information.
About Walmart and Walmart Foundation
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. The Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From Feb. 1, 2009 through Jan. 31, 2010, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $512 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally, $467 million of which was donated in the U.S. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.
SOURCE Share Our Strength