Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger-relief organization, today announced a $1 million donation from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to support Feeding America's efforts to connect low-income Americans with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, formerly named the Food Stamp Program. The funds will be used to help Feeding America food banks improve access and provide pre-screening and application assistance for low-income clients seeking emergency food assistance who are eligible for SNAP but not participating.
The announcement comes on the heels of a report, Reaching Those in Need: State Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates in 2007, released yesterday by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicating that in 2007, only 66 percent of people who were eligible for SNAP received benefits. State-by-state participation rates varied from 42 percent to 100 percent.
"On behalf of the 25 million people that the Feeding America network serves, I am deeply grateful to Bank of America for its tremendous generosity" said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America."This donation will enable food banks to connect the millions of people who visit emergency shelters, food pantries and soup kitchens across the nation who are eligible for SNAP benefits but unaware they are eligible for the program or not participating because of other barriers. We believe the majority of people who are eligible for the program but not participating are seeking food assistance from an agency served by our Network.
"In light of the recent current economic downturn, and consequently a significant increase in the number of people who are in need of help, SNAP outreach is one of the most important things we can do to ensure that no American goes to bed hungry at night," continued Escarra.
"Ensuring vulnerable populations have access to basic services is a critical component to revitalizing our nation's economy," said Kerry Sullivan, President, Bank of America Charitable Foundation."Bank of America's focus on providing meaningful support to the communities we serve has never been more important. As an increasing number of families across our country are affected by events beyond their control, we are proud to support Feeding America in their efforts to reduce hunger and ensure low-income families have access to this important anti-hunger support system."
Bank of America is a longtime supporter of the Feeding America network and in addition to this grant, provided over $2.5 million to Feeding America and our member food banks in the past year. More than 1,200 Bank of America associates donated nearly 3,700 hours to the Feeding America network over the past year.
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Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
Building on a long-standing tradition of investing in the communities it serves, last year Bank of America embarked on a new, 10-year goal to donate $2 billion to nonprofit organizations engaged in improving the health and vitality of their neighborhoods. Funded by Bank of America, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation gave more than $200 million in 2009, making the bank one of the largest corporate cash donors in the United States. Bank of America approaches investing through a national strategy under which it works with local leaders to identify and meet the most pressing needs of individual communities. Reaffirming a commitment to develop and sustain a culture of service, the bank announced the"Million Hour Challenge," a pledge by the company's associates around the world to donate 1 million volunteer hours by the end of 2010. In 2009, bank associate volunteers contributed more than 800,000 hours to enhance the quality of life in their communities nationwide. For more information about Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy, please visit www.bankofamerica.com/foundation.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) has enabled young people, especially those who need Clubs most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, some 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs serve more than 4 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs can be found throughout the country and on U.S. military installations worldwide, providing young people 6-18 years old with guidance-oriented character development programs conducted by trained, professional staff. Key programs emphasize leadership development; education and career exploration; community service; technology training; financial literacy; health and life skills; the arts; sports, fitness and recreation; and family outreach. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.