KNOXVILLE, Tenn., June 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- This summer, country singer-songwriter Josh Kelley
The reality is that millions of children in the United States aren't always certain where their next meal will come from. During the school year, 21 million children can count on having lunch each weekday thanks to the United States Department of Agriculture's free and reduced-priced school lunch program available to low-income families. But when school lets out for summer, the vast majority of those children are more likely to face hunger if they don't have access to summer meal programs.
"Summer is supposed to be a care-free time for children and families. As a dad, I believe it's unacceptable that there are millions of children who can't enjoy their summer break because hunger is holding them back," said Kelley. "So this summer, I'll be volunteering at Feeding America network food banks across the summer so that more kids can have the meals they need to have a bright summer and an even brighter future when they return to school."
The Hunger-Free Summer program aims to provide more meals to these children so that while school may be out for the summer, lunch is always in session. Twenty-three food banks in 20 states received grants from Feeding America thanks to $5 million in funding ConAgra Foods Foundation is providing over five years to establish and increase the reach of Feeding America's summer meal program.
Kelley is kicking off this year's Hunger-Free Summer initiative on Thursday, June 2, with the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., where he will volunteer his time by serving lunch and singing with children at a local Boys & Girls Club. In coming weeks, Kelley will also be visiting summer meal programs hosted by food banks based in Kansas City, Mo.; Austin, Texas; Pennsauken, N.J., outside of Philadelphia; and Omaha, Neb.
The goal of the Hunger-Free Summer campaign is to help participating Feeding America network food banks serve an additional one million meals and feed 10,000 more children through their unique and innovative, community-based programs. ConAgra Foods Foundation's funding helps ensure that food banks will have the means to help more children get the nutritious foods they need, but may not have access to because of financial difficulties their families face. The need for assistance is that much greater during summer months when children are no longer receiving free or reduced-priced meals through the USDA's school lunch and breakfast programs.
"When we launched Hunger-Free Summer last year, the ConAgra Foods Foundation and Feeding America partnership helped provide more meals to children struggling with hunger," said Kori Reed, vice president of Foundation and Cause at ConAgra Foods. "Building off that momentum, we continue to work together to provide even more meals to more children, while also applying what we learn to make reaching kids during the summer months even more effective."
"For the millions of children who are unable to receive access to free and reduced-price meals when school is out of session, the summer months can be especially difficult," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. "Proper nutrition is vital to the growth and development of children. Thanks to ConAgra Foods Foundation's support for programs like Hunger-Free Summer and partners like Josh Kelley, we can ensure that thousands of children will receive nutritious meals and snacks this summer."
For the complete list of 2011 Hunger-Free Summer grant recipients or to learn more about the program, visit HungerFreeSummerTour.org.
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 www.feedingamerica.org; find us on Facebook at facebook.com/FeedingAmerica; or follow our news on Twitter at twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.
About ConAgra Foods Foundation
The ConAgra Foods Foundation, through its Nourish Today, Flourish Tomorrow platform, is dedicated to raising awareness of the nearly 17 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. 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.
SOURCE ConAgra Foods Foundation
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