(3BLMedia/theCSRfeed) GAITHERSBURG, MD - November 30, 2010 - The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Sodexo, Inc., the world leader in Quality of Daily Life Solutions, have partnered over the past several years to shed light on the severity of the problems of hunger and homelessness in U.S. cities, as well as the impact and value of investments in anti-hunger programs. Today, the partners released a case study on childhood hunger, “Strategies to Combat Childhood Hunger in Four U.S. Cities.” This year, the effort took an in-depth look at initiatives in four cities: Boston, Mass., New Haven, Conn., San Francisco, Calif., and Washington, D.C. that have the potential to serve as models for other U.S. cities confronting childhood hunger, which has escalated due to the downturn in the economy.
The new report features case studies of the four cities’ efforts to combat childhood hunger. It concludes that a holistic city-wide effort comprised of the following seven program components plays a pivotal role in successful implementation:
· Teaching healthy behaviors at school
· Offering summer food programs for school children
· Creating public/private/non-profit partnerships, including policy councils to coordinate city-wide efforts
· Increasing access to healthy and affordable food, and encouraging involvement through local garden and farm programs
· Supporting local food banks
· Implementing assistance programs for School Breakfast, After School Snack and Summer Food Service Programs
· Adopting and advocating anti-hunger legislation and policies
Each of the four cities have illustrated effectiveness in combating childhood hunger and creating awareness of the issue through collaborative efforts involving mayoral, council, school system, agency and private sector leadership. As a group, each city reflects the officials and advocates findings in several key areas including demonstrating the effectiveness of collaborative and holistic approaches, identifying the resources that are available despite difficult economic times, and validating that these efforts help break the cycle of hunger and poverty.
“The Conference of Mayors will continue to pursue public policies that support more adequate federal programs to reduce hunger in America, raise national awareness of the severity of the hunger problem, and help to facilitate the exchange of information among mayors on the most effective strategies and programs they can employ to combat hunger in their cities,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the United States Conference of Mayors.
Highlighted within the report are case studies on each city including:
· Creating a Food Economy: Boston’s case study illustrates the power of leadership in bringing public and private agencies into a collaborative and holistic approach to combating childhood hunger, and the roles played by these agencies. The City of Boston’s goal is to connect and enhance the wide range of activities underway to reduce childhood hunger and improve child nutrition.
· Thinking Outside the Lunch Box: New Haven’s case study couples the wide-ranging efforts of an experienced chef within the school system to provide more students with more nourishing and appealing meals, with community-wide efforts to focus on childhood hunger. Also described are several organizations that have been created to improve the city’s level of food security and quality, coordinate service delivery, promote and increase student wellness, and provide food to all the non-profit agencies serving hungry families in the city.
· Focusing on Food Security: San Francisco’s case study illustrates the use of legislation to bring public and private agencies together in a concerted effort to eliminate childhood hunger, and describes the roles of individual agencies in the city’s attack on childhood hunger. The case study focuses on the role of a task force created through a 2005 ordinance to develop citywide strategies to reduce hunger and increase food security, and to increase participation in federal food assistance programs.
· Advocating and Implementing Hunger Solutions: Washington, D.C.’s case study focuses on landmark legislation that expands and improves student access to better quality meals, and on the roles played by other agencies and organizations in that legislation and in other efforts to combat childhood hunger. The case study describes the passage and implementation this year of sweeping legislation designed to expand and improve access by students to better quality meals in the District of Columbia school system.
Currently, nearly one in four children in the U.S. lives in a household that has trouble putting food on the table. The U.S. Bureau of the Census reported on September 16, 2010 that the poverty rate in 2009 was the highest since 1994. In addition, participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program, has hit record levels. About 40.5 million people a month—more than one-eighth of the total U.S. population—receives SNAP benefits.
“This year’s report underscores that it takes collaborative efforts and real solutions to help make a difference in the daily lives of children and families, especially during tough economic times,” said Stephen J. Brady, President of the Sodexo Foundation. “With one in four children facing the prospect of going to bed without knowing where their next meal is coming from, we need more cities to follow the examples illustrated in this year’s report.”
To view the full report, download “Strategies to Combat Childhood Hunger” from the Sodexo Foundation web site at www.SodexoFoundation.org.