FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2015
Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391
MT No Kid Hungry connects kids to food
By Lily Herd
AmeriCorps VISTA, Montana No Kid Hungry
Childhood hunger is an invisible but very real problem here in Montana. Although there is not a lack of food in our country, more than 16 million children can’t count on the nutritious meals they need to lead healthy, active lives. In Montana, there are many people who have joined the fight against childhood hunger. Among them are Governor and First Lady Bullock; they have made combating childhood hunger one of their top priorities.
Here in Montana, 1 in every 5 children in the state is at risk of hunger. Hunger impairs their health and their ability to learn, and predisposes them to emotional and behavioral difficulties that can negatively affect their families and our communities for years to come.
Montana No Kid Hungry works to connect Montana’s most vulnerable children with food where they live, learn, and play. This means increasing access to food at schools, in homes, and during the summer. Increasing participation in the existing federal nutrition programs (i.e. school breakfast, summer and afterschool meal programs) increases the flow of previously authorized and appropriated funds to our communities. These funds stimulate our economy and provide long-term benefits to our state.
Montana No Kid Hungry is continuously working to be a great resource for schools that are switching from traditional school breakfast models to alternative models, such as Breakfast in the Classroom and Grab n’Go, as well as to increase awareness by conducting outreach events and campaigns. We have AmeriCorps Service Members located in Helena, Billings, Kalispell, and Great Falls that are available to help schools switch school breakfast models and to serve as a resource for communities to connect anti-hunger coalitions across the state of Montana.
This year marks the inaugural year of the ‘Governor and First Lady Youth Leadership Council’; this council is made of up 15 youth and 5 Montana No Kid Hungry AmeriCorps members from around the state. The focus of the council is to lead events in their communities that increase awareness of child hunger. These events range from 5k benefit runs to food drives to school assemblies to Wear Orange Wednesday events. You can check out events in your area during Fight Childhood Hunger week (April 13-19, 2015) by visiting fightchildhoodhunger.com.
You can become a Montana No Kid Hungry Ally by helping to increase awareness of childhood hunger in your community, by encouraging your local schools to take advantage of the School Breakfast grants (now available from Montana No Kid Hungry), or by taking part in a Fight Childhood Hunger Week event in your area, or by volunteering at a Summer Meal Program site near you. For more ways to get involved please see our website at mt.nokidhungry.org or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lack of food is not the problem. Please join us to help ensure that no child goes hungry in Montana.
Lily Herd is an AmeriCorps VISTA with Montana No Kid Hungry.