Stamping out childhood hunger in the U.S. by 2015 is an ambitious goal but one that is achievable if you think about this: We don’t have a shortage of food, we have a problem getting it to the hungry. If we can fix the logistics, we can create a country where no child goes hungry.
The statistics are sobering. Today, about 1 in 5 American children – more than 16 million – struggle with hunger. Solving this problem is the reason why we support Share Our Strength, a program by non-profit Strength.org with the simple motto “No Kid Hungry.” The organization is working to bring food to where the hungry mouths are – in schools, struggling neighborhoods, parks and community centers, among other places. In schools, the logistic problem is particularly acute: less than half of eligible children get free or reduced-price school breakfast. In the summer, it is worse as six out of seven eligible kids do not get free meals and often go without eating.
At SCA, we are involved in Share Our Strength because we believe in the mission but also because our customers believe in the mission. Many of our customers in the restaurant industry are active participants in the organization and have helped raise millions of dollars to put programs in place to get food where it is needed the most.
From a business perspective, Strength.Org is a great partner. The non-profit wants to help companies like SCA, Whole Foods, Corner Bakery, ConAgra Foods, Food Network and the many others who support the organization promote their involvement. Companies realize that cause marketing is smart business and appreciated by their customers, so Strength.org helps companies get the message out. Strength.org helps build campaigns – they will provide media tool kits and promote participation by touting how its members are “doing well by doing good.”
Arby’s is an excellent example. In the first year of its partnership in Share our Strength, the Arby’s Foundation pledged $1 million to the program. But due to the overwhelming success of its national fundraiser and customer support, Arby’s doubled its original pledge and donated more than $2.2 million.
At SCA, we support a number of Share Our Strength programs, including Taste of the Nation – which has upcoming events in Minneapolis, Nashville and Chicago – and Dine Out For No Kid Hungry, a month-long event that will encompass restaurants across the nation throughout September.
If you want to share your good taste in food, I encourage you to check out what Strength.org is doing. More partners mean more mouths are fed.