Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In the News

How Bake Sales End Hunger

Great American Bake Sale
Over the years, as proud partners of Share Our Strength's Great American Bake Sale (GABS) and No Kid Hungry programs, we've profiled bake-sale participants, celebrated success stories, and shared our readers' creative ideas. This year we look at Share Our Strength from a different angle: After the bake sales are finished and the receipts tallied, where does the money go? How do the funds help end childhood hunger?
Here are two answers, one from a coastal California town and the other from New York City.
La Familia Center
Santa Cruz, California, has beautiful ocean views, a thriving tourism industry, and a University of California campus. But "there are pockets of poverty even in paradise," says Yolanda Henry, program director of the La Familia Center. The center was founded 29 years ago as a health clinic and now offers a full range of social services for children and teens.
Most of the families who seek assistance from La Familia, says Henry, work in service jobs that cater to tourists. During the summer, as many as 45 children visit La Familia each day for free lunch and snacks in the 1,200-square-foot center, a converted residence. During the school year, many of these children qualify for reduced-cost school lunches; if it weren't for the La Familia program, says Henry, some of their families couldn't afford midday meals during the summer months.
That's where Share Our Strength comes in. Some of the money raised through the Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry campaign is allocated to La Familia to help improve the snack program, which now includes more fruits and vegetables. The funds also have helped La Familia's staff of six improve the lunch menu and expand the teen program. They now teach teens basic cooking skills such as how to make pancakes, simple salads, and salsa. Henry hopes the instruction will help teens make healthy choices and share the knowledge with the rest of their family.
New York City Coalition Against Hunger
On the East Coast, Share Our Strength has been working with the New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCAH) to give children greater access to meals. "An average of 1.5 million New York City residents, one in four of them children, live in households facing food insecurity," says Joel Berg, NYCAH's executive director. Berg says chronic hunger isn't just an urban problem anymore: with the recession, poverty levels have risen in suburban areas.
Share Our Strength and NYCCAH work together to tackle the issue. Here are two of the federal programs they support:
  • SchoolFood SummerMeals provides children and young adults with healthy alternatives to junk food. The program makes lunch available for all children under 19 years of age and all handicapped persons, regardless of age, who participate in special education programs. The lunches are offered at community and neighborhood centers, swimming pools, parks, and agencies where the need is greatest. The program is especially vital during the summer months, when children are no longer guaranteed a hot lunch at school.
  • School Breakfast Program works with schools to offer breakfast to children in their first- period classes. "Children who don't receive breakfast are at greater risk for both hunger and obesity, as they often overeat when they do have a meal," explains Berg, who has been working with NYCAH for more than 10 years. His goal as director is to help move people in need "beyond the soup kitchen" to self-sufficiency.
To learn more about Share Our Strength's Great American Bake Sale, or to register for a bake sale, visit
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