If you're reading this then odds are high that you consider yourself a hunger activist, like I am, or at the very least someone who is interested in the issue of hunger. How many of you, when you're talking with your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers or classmates, meet either blank stares…or perhaps even disbelief…when you explain that there are children in the United States who are experiencing hunger?
If you're like me, the answer is that most people don't know. Many believe that the kids who are hungry are in third-world countries. What they aren't aware of, perhaps, is that kids facing hunger are right here.
The statistics around child hunger are staggering. Nearly one in five kids in the year 2013 in America don't have enough to eat or enough nutritious food to eat. That's sobering.
Recently, the company I work for, C&S Wholesale Grocers, was approached by leaders at Feeding America to help make a very special, high-impact project possible. The project would, they said, reach tens of millions of people and would inform, inspire and hopefully to engage them around the issue of child hunger.
At C&S, we're committed to making a difference for people who are struggling with food insecurity, and the company has been a Mission Partner to Feeding America for quite some time. So when the special project was described to us, we listened closely.
The project was to provide funding for a public service campaign about child hunger. Feeding America proposed working with the Ad Council; they're the highly creative group who developed public service campaigns like A Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste and Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires. Those campaigns have become iconic, and have led to changes in thinking and behavior.
There was a catch though. Feeding America told us that projects with the Ad Council would not include our company's name or our logo. The purpose was to get the message across about child hunger — not to advertise or to "enhance our brand."
Apparently, there were other companies who heard about the public service campaign but they said to Feeding America "No thank you, we can't fund it. There's no return on our investment without the visibility of our name being connected to it."
While that's understandable, to us at C&S, we didn't think it was quite right. If there's something we can do that'll make a difference — especially for kids and families who are struggling and not getting enough food to eat — then we'll step up. Of course. And so we provided the funding.
Partnering with Feeding America on its Child Hunger PSA campaign was important and timely. It was an honor and especially it was the right thing to do.
Soon you'll be seeing the PSAs everywhere — on television, on billboards alongside highways, in magazines and newspapers, on the internet and hearing it on the radio. The message is strong and compelling: there are kids at-risk of hunger and everyone has a role in changing that.
I'm optimistic that the campaign will help you in your conversations about child hunger and that it will propel people to learn more and to do more. By getting involved like you, they can earn their "angel wings." too.
Gina Goff is the Senior Director of Community Involvement at C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. and was instrumental in helping get the new Child Hunger PSA launched.