CHICAGO, Today America's Second Harvest -- The Nation's Food Bank Network kicks-off Hunger Awareness Day 2007 with 200 food banks and more than 20,000 food service agencies participating in events across the country. Also, as legislators in Washington D.C. begin to consider drafts of a new Farm Bill and the critically important federal nutrition programs it supports, America's Second Harvest released The Almanac of Hunger and Poverty in America 2007, a comprehensive guide to national and state facts on hunger and poverty in the United States.
Designed as a campaign to link celebrities with the food bank in their hometowns, America's Second Harvest launched "Goin' Home for Hunger," sending leading actors, musicians and other personalities back to where they were raised. Among the stars to sign up were actor and Bostonian Ben Affleck; Olympian and Nashville resident Scott Hamilton; singer and Cincinnati native Nick Lachey; Los Angeles' own actor Scott Wolf; and the Cast of "Legally Blonde - the Musical."
Ben helped out at the Greater Boston Food Bank. Nick volunteered at the FreeStore FoodBank and hosted a "Taste of the NFL" fundraising event in support of the food bank. Scott Hamilton and the up and coming band Emerson Drive stopped by the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee to volunteer. Scott Wolf visited the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank to help bring greater awareness to the issue of hunger in southern California. The Cast of "Legally Blonde - the Musical" helped New York's City Harvest deliver food.
"We are truly grateful to have such an unbelievable team join us on Hunger Awareness Day to help build awareness and draw greater attention to the severity of hunger in America," said Vicki Escarra, President and CEO of the America's Second Harvest -- The Nation's Food Bank Network. "Hunger is a solvable problem that reaches into every community in this country, affecting one in ten men, women and children. We are hopeful that today we will inspire thousands to take action to help move us closer to a hunger free America."
Themed "The Face of Hunger Will Surprise You," this year's Hunger Awareness Day events aimed to draw greater attention to the growing number of struggling low-income Americans who are often forced to choose between paying for utilities, medicine, gasoline or putting food on the table. Some of the events occurring at local food banks, community agencies and pantries across the country today were:
-- Dine Out Against Hunger in Colorado where participating restaurants are donating Hunger Day proceeds to hunger relief
-- The Hunger Awareness Day Conference in Virginia focuses on children, seniors and community development
-- A Chefs' Affaire in Idaho at which 20 chefs will be auctioned off to prepare dinner
-- Bike for Bread in Connecticut where students have organized a bike-a-thon to support local food banks and community meal centers
-- Faces of Hunger and Hope Interfaith Service in
Atlanta honoring the work of Metro Atlanta's faith community in helping feed the hungry
Also adding to the campaign visibility was the national release of The Almanac of Hunger and Poverty in America 2007. Sponsored by Tyson Foods, Inc., the Almanac is the most comprehensive resource available offering demographic details around the many faces of hunger -- from working parents to young children and seniors in every state across the nation. It combines original data and research from America's Second Harvest with current statistics from government agencies including the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
More than 35 million people in the United States, including 12 million children are identified by the USDA as being at risk of hunger, which means they are sometimes uncertain as to where they will find their next meal.
America's Second Harvest members are serving growing numbers of families headed by employed mothers and fathers, households whose monthly food stamps allowance is depleted after two and a half weeks, children seeking an after-school meal to substitute for the one they will not get at home, and grandparents who are forced to chose between paying for food or paying for medical care.
"Last year, the America's Second Harvest Network provided food assistance to more than 25 million low-income hungry people in the United States, including 9 million children and nearly 3 million seniors," said Escarra. "Our goal is to increase the number of people we serve to reach the remaining 10 million people living on the brink of hunger in the United States. To do this more Americans must become a part of the solution.
"There are many opportunities to get involved," continued Escarra. "People can donate food, funds or their time. They can also contact their elected officials to let them know about the needs in your community. There is something everyone can do to ensure no one in the United States goes to bed hungry."
As the official cable media partner of Hunger Awareness Day 2007, Country Music Television (CMT) is also bringing great visibility to the problem of hunger in America and encouraging volunteerism though its CMT One Country program. Through it's Web site, CMTonecountry.com, the country music media channel is helping Americans connect to ways to take action and bring about positive change in their communities. The partnership is expected to drive hundreds of people to action in local communities across America.
Source: PR Newswire