Discover, donate and dine to support Share Our Strength’s campaign to end childhood hunger.
By Halle Kaplan-Allen
In 1984, Bill and Debbie Shore created Share Our Strength in response to the famine that was occurring in Ethiopia. In the following years, the group put on a series of events and classes to raise money and prove to Americans that good nutrition is possible for people on any budget. In 2004, the organization shifted its focus to the goal of “No Kid Hungry”: to end child hunger by 2015. More than 16 million children across the country experience hunger on a daily basis, which affects everything from growth and development to general cognitive functioning.
The No Kid Hungry Campaign was officially launched in 2010, with Academy Award-winner Jeff Bridges at its forefront. The campaign has been officially endorsed by the Obama Administration, and is sponsored by over 46 companies, including ConAgra Foods, the Food Network, Walmart and Williams Sonoma.
The company’s website makes supporting the campaign easy — individuals can choose to sign up to attend one of the group’s many fundraisers, make a donation, or simply help spread the message through social networking or word of mouth. Be sure to join the over 200,000 Americans, including actress Hailee Steinfeld and the Food Network’s Guy Fieri, who have already taken the website’s pledge to end child hunger by 2015.
Every year, Share Our Strength puts on a series of events around the country to help raise money to support the No Kid Hungry Campaign. Taste of the Nation brings together the nation’s most talented chefs and mixologists to host cocktail parties and dinners that give supporters a chance to donate to the campaign, learn about nutrition and hunger, and experience some of our country’s most delectable cuisine. This summer, Taste of the Nation plans to hold events in Florida, Minnesota, Illinois, New York, Maine, New Hampshire, and Maryland.
Dine Out For No Kid Hungry is a weeklong fundraising event that mobilizes thousands of restaurants around the country to donate a percentage of their profit to the Share Our Strength campaign. Last year, the Dine Out program financed nearly one million summer meals for children in six different states. This year’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry is set to occur the week of September 16-22.
Share Our Strength also hosts a series of educational classes for low-income families. The Cooking Matters program is a six-week nutrition education that has provided individualized courses aimed at children, teens, adults and even families since 1993. Every year, Cooking Matters teaches over 17,000 families nationwide how to budget their money so that they are able to afford healthier groceries and prepare meals in a more nutritious way with the ultimate goal of establishing self-sufficiency. The program, which is cosponsored by ConAgra Foods and Walmart, has been incredibly successful, receiving publicity from The Atlantic, the New York Times and National Public Radio.
In Washington, No Kid Hungry recently hosted two fundraising events: a dinner at Charlie Palmer Steak on Constitution Avenue, as well as a rooftop Confections and Cocktails Party at the same location. Both events benefitted the Share Our Strength campaign to fight hunger and educate children about nutrition. The dinner, featured prominent guest chefs such as Bandolero’s Mike Isabella, The Source’s Scott Drewno, and Co Co. Sala’s Santosh Diptur. The cocktail party included some of the country’s top chefs, including CityZen’s pastry chef Matthew Peterson and Christina Tosi, owner and pastry chef of New York City’s renowned Momofuku Milk Bar, as well as Creative Director of the Institute of Culinary Education, Michael Laiskonis.
Share Our Strength will also be holding two fundraising events in the Maryland area this fall: the No Kid Hungry Frederick dinner and Taste of the Nation Baltimore. The No Kid Hungry dinner is scheduled to occur on September 13 at Volt restaurant in Frederick, Md. The event will be hosted by the restaurant’s founder and owner, Bryan Voltaggio, who is a former Top Chef finalist.
Taste of the Nation Baltimore is scheduled to take place on October 1 at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor. The event will feature Baltimore’s most popular chefs and mixologists from 16 different restaurants and bars. Participants from the 2011 event included Charm City Cakes and Wit & Wisdom, owned by Michael Mina of Washington’s Bourbon Steak.
ED NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Volt is located in Fredericksburg, Va. This version has been updated with the correct information.