One out of five children in northern Illinois faces hunger. When schools are closed for summer, kids have less access to nutritious meals as many rely on free or reduced school breakfast and lunch. This is why Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, has selected Northern Illinois Food Bank to receive a Hunger Free Summer grant funded by the ConAgra Foods Foundation to help provide more meals to kids when they need them most, when school is out for summer.
"The Hunger Free Summer grant allows us to provide meals to kids, so they don't have to worry about food, and have more time to run, play and be kids," said Julie Yurko, president and CEO of Northern Illinois Food Bank. "Working with Feeding America and our partners at ConAgra Foods Foundation through the Hunger Free Summer program, we will be able to provide more healthy meals to more children in the northern Illinois community."
This summer, Northern Illinois Food Bank is one of 23 Feeding America food banks in 15 states that will receive Hunger Free Summer grants, funded by the ConAgra Foods Foundation and distributed by Feeding America, to start new or expand existing summer feeding programs.
These grants totaling $700,000 -- ranging from $20,000 to $40,000 each -- will allow the food banks to serve food in school libraries during the summer months, provide meals to kindergartners at summer camp and deliver boxes of food to families in need and beyond.
"Northern Illinois Food Bank is providing our Summer BackPack Program at 13 sites throughout the Food Bank's service area," Yurko said. "Through our partnership with Feeding America and the ConAgra Foods Foundation, we'll be able to reach 800 kids and families a week this summer with this program, which provides a weekend supply of nutritious food for a child and up to two family members."
ConAgra Foods is partnering with YouTube sensation Kid President, played by Robby Novak, to host the first #HungerFreeSummer Tell-A-Thon, where the goal is to tell as many as 22 million people about the issue of summer hunger and encourage them to continue passing along the message or get involved in their community. People can participate and share to keep the messages alive all summer long. Here's how:
Tune In: People can watch the kickoff of the #HungerFreeSummer Tell-A-Thon hosted by Kid President via YouTube and tell a friend about the issue of child hunger.
Continue Telling Stories: Keep the tell-a-thon going after the kickoff by sharing your own video message or social post with friends and family to get the word out about summer hunger and help reach 22 million people by the end of the summer using the hashtag #HungerFreeSummer. Tag friends and family to encourage them to keep the message moving throughout summer, like an old-fashioned game of telephone.
Hunger Free Fridays: Many ConAgra Foods' products are marked with a red push pin and code. For each eight-digit code entered at www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com this summer, ConAgra Foods will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America, up to 3 million meals. On every Friday between now and July 31, 1 code = 1 meal plus 1 bonus meal. Look for a message from Kid President on Hunger Free Fridays.