Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger-relief organization (formerly known as America's Second Harvest), commemorates the inaugural Hunger Action Month, a nationwide call-to-action effort to mobilize the public, bring greater attention to the issue of hunger in America, and promote ways for individuals everywhere to get involved with the movement to end hunger in America.
Cable network CMT serves as the official media partner for Hunger Action Month and Universal South recording artist Phil Vassar has teamed with Feeding America to serve as the official spokesperson of the campaign. Vassar has re-recorded the song"Prayer of a Common Man," from his latest album of the same name, to help raise awareness about the about the state of hunger in America.
"I have seen the devastating effects that hunger can have on a person and on a family," said Vassar, who recorded the updated version of"Prayer" with members from the Fisk University Jubilee Singers."By partnering with Feeding America, it's my hope that I can help draw more people to the cause and shed more light on hunger relief opportunities."
The song will be available for download exclusively on Rhapsody on Tuesday, September 9. Feeding America will receive a portion of the proceeds for each download of the song through the end of the year.
Other celebrities, including actor David Arquette and singer Nick Lachey, have joined the call to action and will be volunteering at food banks in September. Many of Feeding America's 205 member food banks will host events across the United States that will directly benefit hunger-relief -- including concerts, hunger walks and food drives.
"With the economic downturn, 2008 has been an especially difficult year for many households who cannot make ends meet and are forced to seek assistance from their local food banks," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America."Our network is experiencing a 15 to 20 percent increase in demand for assistance this year. Some of our food banks have reported much higher increases in requests for emergency food. A large-scale nationwide call to action is imperative right now as so many families living on the very brink of hunger."
Upcoming events include:
- September 9, Nick Lachey will volunteer at Food Bank For New York City's Community Kitchen in Harlem. September 12, David Arquette will be volunteering at the Los Angeles Regional Food bank, helping fill backpacks with food, which will be distributed to at-risk children at a Los Angeles public school.
- September 23, Cleveland Browns Taste of the NFL Celebrity Dinner. Guests will dine on samplings from more than 20 of Cleveland's finest restaurants, while mingling with Cleveland Browns alumni and current players.
- September 18,"Dining Out Against Hunger" in San Francisco. For $20.00, forty local restaurants will invite restaurant-goers to sample various appetizers and wines with the proceeds going to the San Francisco Food Bank.
- September 1 through 30, Citibank Food Drive in Long Island, New York. Citibank and its 80 branches throughout Long Island will conduct a month long Food & Fund Drive to benefit Long Island Cares and Island Harvest.
- September 19, the 6th annual Take a Swing at Hunger Golf Tournament benefiting the Food Bank of Central Louisiana in Alexandria.
- September 28, Crop Walk, a walk through Lexington, Kentucky to benefit hungry families in the community.
"There is something everyone can do to be a part of Feeding America's Hunger Action Month," said Escarra. To take part or learn what is going on in your community, please visit: http://www.secondharvest.org/how_to_help/hungeractionmonth/index.html
This announcement falls on the heels of a troubling nationwide local impact survey conducted by Feeding America. The May 2008 survey of 180 food banks nationwide found that 99 percent of the food banks reported between a 15 percent and 20 percent increase in the number of people being served, compared to one year ago. Eighty-one percent of the food banks reported that they are unable to meet the growing demand without having to dramatically reduce the amount of food given to each household. Food bank respondents cited food and fuel prices as a primary reason that individuals are turning to food banks for their meals.
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About Feeding America
Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and 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. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
CMT, a unit of Viacom's MTV Networks (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), is the leading television and digital authority on country music and entertainment, reaching more than 87 million homes in the U.S. CMT and its website, CMT.com, offer an unparalleled mix of music, news, live concerts and series and is the top resource for country music on demand. The network's digital platforms include the 24-hour music channel, CMT Pure Country, CMT Mobile and CMT VOD.