Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson Hosts Texas No Kid Hungry Dallas Summit, Bringing Together Local and National Child Hunger Thought Leaders
DALLAS, Nov. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson hosted the Texas No Kid HungryÂ® Dallas Summit this morning, bringing together local and national child hunger thought leaders, in addition to key stakeholders in Dallas and surrounding communities. Texas currently ranks fifth highest for child food insecurity, meaning 1.8 million children don’t know where their next meal will come from and have gone hungry at some point in the last year. In Dallas County alone, there are nearly 200,000 food insecure children. In Tarrant County, more than 120,000 children are food insecure.
Held at the Dallas Farmers Market, many local organizations–including the Texas Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture, Texas Hunger Initiative, Share Our Strength and Texas Food Bank Network, to name a few–presented at the summit. Also in attendance were Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, North Texas Food Bank, Feed3, CitySquare, Tarrant Area Food Bank and many other local stakeholders.
“Child hunger is a serious issue in Dallas and surrounding communities, but the good news is that we have the resources to solve it,” Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson said. “The group of talented and strategic partners at this hunger summit is dedicated and will help ensure our children are fed three meals a day, every day.”
An important announcement made during the hunger summit was the creation of a Dallas-Area Food Planning Association, which is currently underway as part of the Texas No Kid Hungry Campaign. This group will consist of educators, elected officials, corporations, government agencies, non-profit organizations, community leaders and local residents who will take a close look at where child hunger needs are greatest in the area, and will then work to implement programs there.
“Kids who face hunger fall behind in virtually every way, and the Texas No Kid Hungry Campaign seeks to connect children at risk of hunger to programs that can provide regular, nutritious meals,” Jeremy Everett, director of the Texas Hunger Initiative, said. “The focus of the campaign during its first year is to connect more eligible low-income children to federally funded School Breakfast and Summer Meals Programs.”
This meeting of the minds touched on a wide range of topics related to child hunger in North Texas, including alarming new statistics, Dallas-area “food deserts,” the importance of fighting hunger in the faith community, and solutions currently being put in place through the Texas No Kid Hungry Campaign. This statewide public-private partnership was launched last month by the Texas Hunger Initiative, a project of the Baylor University School of Social Work, and Share Our Strength, the leading national child anti-hunger organization.
“Dallas is already moving the needle on child hunger through the Texas No Kid Hungry Campaign,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, said. “We have the necessary programs funded and in place to make certain that every child in Dallas receives the food they need to excel in and out of the classroom. By working together, we can guarantee easy access to these programs for those most in need–our children at risk of hunger.”
Although nearly all Texas public schools (99 percent) offer low-income kids a nutritious breakfast at a free or reduced price, of the more than 2.4 million students in the state who get a free or reduced-price lunch at school, less than 1.4 million (56 percent) participate in the School Breakfast Program. To help address this issue locally, Dallas Independent School District launched the Breakfast in the Classroom Program in 59 elementary schools this school year and plans to expand to all elementary schools in the district by next school year.
“By implementing nontraditional school nutrition programs, such as Breakfast in the Classroom and Grab n’ Go meals, we know we can increase breakfast participation in Texas,” Melissa Roy, director of No Kid Hungry state partnerships for Share Our Strength, said. “We’ve done this successfully in 13 other states, thus far. Our goal is long-term change, the difference between feeding a child today and making sure no child in the U.S. ever goes hungry again.”
Lead sponsor of the Texas No Kid Hungry Campaign is Walmart, with support from Maximus and Dairy Max. “Walmart is proud to sponsor the Texas No Kid Hungry Campaign to help draw attention to the important issue of childhood hunger that many children, families and communities face in the Dallas area and across our state,” Dacona Smith, vice president and regional general manager of Walmart Stores, said. “Our significant contribution to this campaign is part of Walmart and its Foundation’s $2 billion dollar commitment to eradicate hunger.”
About Share Our Strength
Share Our StrengthÂ®, a national nonprofit, is ending childhood hunger in America by connecting children with the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives. Through its No Kid HungryÂ® Campaign–a national effort to end childhood hunger in America– Share Our Strength( )ensures children in need are enrolled in federal nutrition programs, invests in community organizations fighting hunger, teaches families how to cook healthy, affordable meals, and builds public-private partnerships to end hunger, nationally and at the state and city levels. Visit www.Strength.org to learn more.
About The Texas Hunger Initiative
The Texas Hunger Initiative (THI) is a capacity-building collaborative project out of Baylor University’s School of Social Work that seeks to develop and implement strategies to end hunger through policy, education, community organizing and community development. THI seeks to make the state food secure by ensuring that every individual living in Texas has access to three healthy meals a day, seven days a week by 2015. THI convenes federal, state and local government stakeholders with non-governmental organizations, churches and local providers to develop a plan for efficient use and deliver of our current resources to hungry individuals and families. For more information, go to www.baylor.edu/texashunger.
About Texas Department of Agriculture
The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) provides numerous services to Texans through four key areas: growing the agriculture industry; protecting consumers; enabling healthy lifestyles; and developing our economy. Through domestic and international marketing initiatives and various biosecurity measures, TDA promotes and protects the Lone Star State’s $100 billion agriculture industry. The agency also protects Texans through programs to maintain the integrity of the state’s natural resources and by ensuring consumers get what they pay for at the fuel pump and the grocery store. Additionally, as the administrator of federal nutrition programs and economic development grants, TDA also advocates healthy lifestyles among all Texans and fosters the advancement of communities across the Lone Star State. Through research, regulation, funding and marketing, TDA is committed to growing Texas’ worldwide standing as a powerhouse of productivity. www.TexasAgriculture.gov
About USDA Food and Nutrition Service
FNS increases food security and reduces hunger in partnership with cooperating organizations by providing children and low-income people access to food, a healthy diet, and nutrition education in a manner that supports American agriculture and inspires public confidence. Among its 15 nutritional programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamp Program), the National School Lunch Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) are the anchor programs that provide nutrition assistance to millions. The USDA serves one in five Americans. For more information about FNS, visit www.fns.usda.gov.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better around the globe. In May 2010, Walmart and its Foundation made a historic pledge of $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger in the U.S. The Walmart Foundation also supports education, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness initiatives. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.
Lindsey Gehrig | email@example.com | C: 512-659-6111 | O: 512-494-2865
SOURCE Texas Hunger Initiative; Share Our Strength