Sodexo Stops Hunger Blog: Ending Childhood Hunger

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Sodexo Stops Hunger Blog: Ending Childhood Hunger

By Billy Shore
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Sodexo Stops Hunger Blog by Billy Shore:1 in 4 children in U.S. is on food stamps, for 1st time in our history. http://3bl.me/4n99w

Summary

One in four children in the U.S. is now on food stamps, for the first time in our history. A survey that Share Our Strength commissioned from Celinda Lake shows that 62% of public school teachers identify hunger as a problem in the classroom and are using their own money on a regular basis to buy food for those kids.

Monday, June 7, 2010 - 11:00am

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Ending Childhood Hunger By Billy Shore

Recently, there was a great opportunity to advance the strategy to end childhood hunger by presenting to a private session of Governors from about a dozen states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, Colorado and Maryland. They were in Washington for the annual meetings of the National Governors Association (and the Democratic Governors Association) and were headed over to the White House to see President Obama, just after the session in which I presented. So the timing was good -  especially because our message was that while the President has set a bold goal for ending childhood hunger by 2015, it will require bold action on the part of Governors, working with partners like Sodexo, Share Our Strength, and others to achieve it.

Governor Martin O’Malley told his colleagues about the progress that has been made in Maryland and Governor Bill Ritter described what a great deal our new partnership has been for Colorado. Following his comments the chair of the Democratic Governors Association, Delaware’s Jack Markell said “I think we can all agree that this is a no brainer.” The aides to several Governors came up after and asked if we can bring our strategy to their state.

Our nation needs its governors to lead as never before. These are extraordinarily difficult times politically, times that require courage and risk and fortitude.Though we may face many challenges that we are not easy to solve, such as unemployment, health care, climate change, etc, there is an important issue that is solvable and it is particularly dependent on you. That is ending childhood hunger in the United States.

One in four children in the U.S. is now on food stamps, for the first time in our history. A survey that Share Our Strength commissioned from Celinda Lake shows that 62% of public school teachers identify hunger as a problem in the classroom and are using their own money on a regular basis to buy food for those kids.

But kids in the U.S. aren’t hungry because we lack food, or because of a lack of food and nutrition programs. They are hungry because they lack access to those programs. And every time we increase access to school breakfast, to summer feeding, to SNAP/food stamps, we increase the flow of already authorized and appropriated federal dollars into states. Even increasing school breakfast participation from the 45% rate it is at today to 60% would bring $561 million into the states. More than a billion dollars are at stake when you consider all of the food and nutrition programs for which kids are eligible but not enrolled.

We have been working closely with Governor O’Malley and more recently with Governor Ritter to increase the participation in school breakfast, summer feeding, and the SNAP / food stamp program. This is not only right for our kids, it is also a way of showing those skeptical of government, often for good reason, that there are programs that work.

President Obama has advanced this cause by setting the bold goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015, but his Administration’s strategy for achieving that is not as bold as the goal itself. That frankly will depend on governors. For those who are tired of cutting programs (the very ones they ran for office to support,) and tired of budget realities which have forced them to make the most vulnerable and voiceless in their state even more vulnerable and marginalized, we at Share Our Strength, along with many partners including Sodexo, Feeding America and the Food Research and Action Center, are eager to help.

The poet Nordahl Grieg once said: Rich is the earth, noble is man, where there is hunger or need there is betrayal. We know in our heads and our hearts that there is no excuse for hunger in America. Rich is the earth and there is nobility in those who have chosen to serve their states and nation. We don’t need to betray children by leaving them hungry. That’s why we look forward to partnering with Governors across the country to increase participation in programs that have bipartisan support and that we know will work.

Billy Shore is the founder and executive director of Share Our Strength®, the nation’s leading organization working to end childhood hunger in America.

Sodexo in North America
Sodexo, Inc. (www.sodexoUSA.com), a member of Sodexo Group, is a leading provider of Comprehensive Service Solutions serving more than ten million customers daily in corporations, health care, long term care, retirement, schools, higher education, government and remote sites. Headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., Sodexo, Inc. operates in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, with $7.7 billion (USD) in annual revenue and 120,000 employees. The Sodexo Foundation (www.SodexoFoundation.org) is an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $12.7 million in grants to fight hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at www.sodexoUSA.com/blog.

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Keywords: Billy Shore | STOP Hunger | Share Our Strength | Sodexo | sodexo foundation

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