OMAHA, Neb., June 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- This summer, country music artist Kellie Pickler joins the fight against child hunger in the United States by serving as the national spokesperson for the ConAgra Foods Foundation Hunger-Free Summer program. The joint effort between the ConAgra Foods Foundation and Feeding America helps provide children with access to nutritious meals, especially in the summer. Pickler will kick off the third year of the program by visiting Nashville's Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee where she will assist in food fulfillment activities as a volunteer and unveil a downloadable activity booklet that offers families a way to donate meals to Feeding America while teaching children about the issue of hunger. For each booklet downloaded from https://www.facebook.com/ConAgraFoods between today and Sept. 3, 2012, the ConAgra Foods Foundation will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal* to Feeding America, up to 500,000 meals this summer. The organization will also donate the monetary equivalent of one meal for every "Share" on Facebook.
During the school year, almost 21 million children in the United States depend on free or reduced-priced school meals to help keep them from going hungry. Sadly, millions of these same children do not participate in summer meal programs due, in part, to a lack of awareness of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's "Summer Food Service Program," which provides children from low-income families with free, nutritious meals during the summer months. The ConAgra Foods Foundation Hunger-Free Summer campaign helps raise awareness and additional meals to support food banks and reach children who would otherwise go hungry when school is out.
"At some point, all of us have encountered hungry children in our own community, but I was shocked to learn that millions of kids may go hungry during the summer," said Kellie Pickler. "That is why I am honored to be working with the ConAgra Foods Foundation and Feeding America to raise awareness of this problem and show there's help through programs like Hunger-Free Summer."
Pickler is kicking off this year's Hunger-Free Summer initiative today with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, where she will fill backpacks alongside local volunteers. In addition, she will launch "The Hunger Avengers" downloadable activity booklet, created by the ConAgra Foods Foundation, which tells the story of a band of kids who fight the menacing Hunger Monster. The activity booklet is designed to bring families together to better understand the hidden issue of child hunger in America, in a way that's approachable, as well as provide a turnkey way for consumers to get involved in the campaign.
The goal of the Hunger-Free Summer campaign is to help participating Feeding America network food banks serve an additional one million meals through their unique and innovative, community-based programs. This summer, 23 food banks in 15 states have received grants from Feeding America, thanks to $5 million in funding provided by the ConAgra Foods Foundation.
"Summer is supposed to be an exciting time for children," said Ann Rindone, director of Cause and Foundation at ConAgra Foods. "But, for millions of children in the United States, summer can be an uncertain time. It can mean there aren't meals on the table or food in their bellies. This is why the Hunger-Free Summer program was developed, and we're proud that, since its launch, the program has provided more than one million meals to these children in need."
As Feeding America's Leadership Partner in the fight to end child hunger, ConAgra Foods and the ConAgra Foods Foundation have collectively donated more than 290 million pounds of food and invested more than $37 million dollars to combat child hunger since 1993. The Foundation, the philanthropic organization primarily funded by ConAgra Foods, is in the midst of a $10 million, five-year commitment to Feeding America, the largest donation ever made to Feeding America specifically to fight child hunger.
For the complete list of 2012 Hunger-Free Summer grant recipients visit or to learn more about the program, visit us at https://www.facebook.com/ConAgraFoods.
*$0.13, the cost of one meal to be provided through Feeding America's network of food banks. ($1.00 equals 8 meals.)
About ConAgra Foods Foundation
The ConAgra Foods Foundation, through its Nourish Today, Flourish Tomorrow platform, is dedicated to raising awareness of the nearly 16 million children in America who are at risk of hunger and don't have enough food to live active, healthful lives. It aggressively pursues sustainable solutions in the fight against child hunger. And the Foundation is committed to building a community of people who are passionate about ensuring that all kids have access to the food and facts they need to eat nutritiously while living balanced lifestyles and succeeding in school and life. The ConAgra Foods Foundation invests in national and local partnerships with high-impact, not-for-profit organizations, such as Feeding America, that take an innovative approach to addressing needs in the core areas of hunger and nutrition education. For more information, please visit www.conagrafoodsfoundation.org or www.facebook.com/ConAgraFoodsFoundation. The ConAgra Foods Foundation is funded solely by ConAgra Foods.
About Feeding America
Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks support 61,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit http://www.feedingamerica.org. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow our news on Twitter at twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.
About Kellie Pickler
Kellie Pickler grew up immersed in country music in the small town of Albemarle, North Carolina with the words of Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton shaping her musical footing. At the age of 19, she gained fame as a contestant on the fifth season of American Idol where it was evident to all that she was a star. In 2006, she signed to 19 Recordings and BNA Records to release her debut, Small Town Girl, which has gone on to sell over 800,000 copies worldwide and produce three singles, "Red High Heels," "I Wonder," and "Things That Never Cross a Man's Mind." In 2008, Pickler released her self-titled sophomore record featuring country radio hits "Don't You Know You're Beautiful," "Best Days of Your Life" (co-written with Taylor Swift and her first Top 10), and "Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You." Having established herself as not only a powerful vocalist but also a songwriter, Pickler recently wrapped up in the studio with famed producer Frank Liddell (known for his work with Miranda Lambert) and Luke Wooten to record her critically acclaimed January 24, 2012 release, 100 Proof. Pickler co-wrote six of the 11 tracks on the album with the current single and title track playing at country radio now. Kellie is currently on tour in support of 100 Proof. For a complete list of tour dates and more information, please visit www.kelliepickler.com.
SOURCE ConAgra Foods Foundation