LOS ANGELES, Aug. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As students across the country head back to school, one of America's best known "students," actor Mark Salling is partnering with ConAgra Foods to raise awareness about a serious issue facing more than 17 million children nationwide: child hunger.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 17 million children are at risk of hunger. That's nearly one in four kids who are struggling with hunger – in every state, every county and every school in America. Hunger is a serious issue for kids during the school year because research has shown that even mild under-nutrition experienced by young children during critical periods of growth impacts their school performance, behavior and cognitive development. The reality is that students who are hungry may not perform well academically.
This fall, ConAgra Foods is continuing its Child Hunger Ends Here campaign by partnering with Feeding America, Schools Fight Hunger and thousands of schools across the country. The program will rally schools to participate in nationwide food and UPC label drives this fall, working towards ConAgra Foods' goal of five million meals donated to children and families facing hunger in America during the 2011-12 school year.
"Nearly one in four children in this country doesn't have enough food to live active, healthy lives. Hunger undermines the success of students in school, but we can solve the problem," said Salling. "Get involved in the Child Hunger Ends Here school food drives so no student goes hungry."
Parents and teachers can visit ChildHungerEndsHere.com to register their school for the program. Each school that participates will be entered for a chance to win one of several prizes, including the grand prize – $10,000 to fund school field trips of their choosing.
From now through the end of the year, there are two simple ways that schools, parents and students can help in the fight against child hunger in their own communities:
- Food Drives – Participate in or host school-sponsored food drives to collect food for local food banks.
- UPCs – Parents can help students collect UPC codes from any ConAgra Foods brands, including Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Healthy Choice, Hunt's, Marie Callender's, Manwich, Orville Redenbacher's, Peter Pan and Snack Pack. For each UPC collected, ConAgra Foods will donate one meal* to Feeding America – the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization.
"We're dedicated to helping solve child hunger, but we know we can't do it alone. Schools – parents, teachers, students and administrators – are a powerful community that plays a lead role in fighting child hunger in the United States," said Gary Rodkin, CEO of ConAgra Foods. "By bringing together thousands of schools across the country with one goal – ending child hunger – we know we are one step closer to ending child hunger in America."
The Child Hunger Ends Here campaign builds on a commitment by ConAgra Foods and the ConAgra Foods Foundation to end child hunger. Since 1993, ConAgra Foods has donated more than $35 million and 260 million pounds of food to Feeding America. The five-year, $10 million pledge from the ConAgra Foods Foundation is the largest donation ever made to Feeding America specifically to fight child hunger.
"ConAgra Foods is a longtime, committed partner of Feeding America, and we are incredibly grateful for their dedication to fighting domestic childhood hunger," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. "With nearly one in four children across the nation struggling with hunger, we are in crisis right now. No American, and especially no child, should go hungry, and we thank ConAgra Foods for making it possible for us to help more families in more neighborhoods across the country this school year."
*For every UPC collected by schools through 12/31/11, a monetary donation will be made enabling one meal to be secured by Feeding America on behalf of local food banks, up to a maximum of 2 million meals for codes received by 1/12/12. ConAgra Foods will help provide up to 5 million meals to Feeding America during the 2011-12 school year (9/1/11-5/31/12). Valid in U.S. only. $1 donated = 8 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local food banks.
About ConAgra Foods:
ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) is one of North America's leading food companies, with brands in 97 percent of America's households. Consumers find Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Hunt's, Marie Callender's, Orville Redenbacher's, PAM, Peter Pan, Reddi-wip and many ConAgra Foods brands in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise and club stores. ConAgra Foods also has a strong business-to-business presence, supplying frozen potato and sweet potato products as well as other vegetable, spice and grain products to a variety of well-known restaurants, foodservice operators and commercial customers. For more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.
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 63,000 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 Schools Fight Hunger:
Schools Fight Hunger brings together America's schools and school families around the cause of ending childhood hunger. Each school year, tens of thousands of schools will unite to combat hunger in their communities with local food drives and hunger awareness efforts. Schools Fight Hunger is providing tools, know-how and resources for those programs and will be tracking and celebrating the combined achievements of participating schools across the country. All told, Schools Fight Hunger and America's schools and school families will be collecting millions of pounds of food for local pantries each year. For more information on Schools Fight Hunger on the web: www.SchoolsFightHunger.org; Facebook at www.facebook.com/SchoolsFightHunger, or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/schoolsvhunger.
SOURCE ConAgra Foods