Monday, April 30, 2012

No Kid Hungry Chicago Chef Campaign

Stephanie in the alley behind Girl & the Goat.

Several weeks ago members of the state legislature gathered at a Chicago elementary school with local media, joined by representatives of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, students, parents, and staff from Share Our Strength and Taste of the Nation Chicago. The gathering marked the launch of No Kid Hungry Illinois, a statewide collaborative effort supported by government, schools, and the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and anchored by Share Our Strength. No Kid Hungry, a national program developed to help eliminate childhood hunger by 2015 on a state-by-state level, has the potential to do a heck of a lot of good for hungry children in Illinois—and we're taking this very seriously at Taste of the Nation.

You've seen us post a lot to twitter and Facebook about the "No Kid Hungry Pledge," but maybe you haven't quite understood exactly what that means. It's pretty simple: if you think no child should ever skip a meal or go hungry, you're going to want to take this pledge. Here's what you agree to:
I believe that no child in America should go hungry. By pledging today, I add my voice to the national movement of people committed to ending childhood hunger in America by 2015.
And here's more about No Kid Hungry:

Yes. That's Jeff Bridges, The Dude, working as a spokesperson for this very cause. Pretty effective, right? And that's the very reason we've teamed up with Galdones Photography for our own No Kid Hungry campaign.

Over the next couple of weeks we'll be visiting Chicago kitchens to photograph chefs who have been advocates and supporters for Share Our Strength and Taste of the Nation Chicago. We started with chefs Jared Van Camp (NellcĂ´te, Old Town Social) and Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat), shooting the two of them in the alley behind Stephanie's restaurant. And just like Jeff Bridges, they're encouraging you to take the pledge.

Blake films as Huge shoots Jared.

You'll see these photographs on display at Taste of the Nation this August, and we're internally discussing other means in which they might be used to help drive awareness for this cause. But one of the biggest ways you can help? Take the pledge and share it with friends. So far over 150,000 people have taken the pledge—a great number, but we should be able to get that many people on board just in Chicago alone.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Taste of the Nation Kicks Off With Food Network Documentary "Hunger Hits Home"

The Taste of the Nation Chicago team is back, and more ready than ever to take on Share Our Strength’s goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015. A big part of that – in addition to planning our annual gala benefit – is working to educate the public on the realities of childhood hunger here in the United States.
Our message got across in a major way last week when The Food Network aired a documentary co-produced with Share Our Strength called "Hunger Hits Home." Narrated by Hollywood actor Jeff Bridges, the film profiles three American families who have unexpectedly found themselves struggling to put food on the table.
Their stories are startling. "I've gone about three days without eating," says one bespectacled boy from Norfolk, Virginia. "I've been able to do that," he says, adding, "sometimes." The children featured here all come from hard-working, loving homes and the desperation their parents feel at not being able to provide for them is palpable.
Sadly, they’re not alone. Childhood hunger affects as many as 16 million children in this country – that’s 1 in 5 kids you see on the street. It's become such a growing problem that current Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack has labeled it an issue of national security.
What’s encouraging is seeing how both private citizens and politicians have become energized around this issue. On the local level, food pantries like Minnie’s in Plano, Texas, help make the choice between cooking dinner and going without a little easier for families in the community. Share Our Strength has also successfully partnered with governors in Maryland and Virginia to help make ending hunger a priority in their states.
The message here is simple. Whether it’s donating to your local food pantry, writing your state legislator, or simply taking the pledge to end childhood hunger, this is a goal we can all get behind.

We hope to do our part here in Chicago. Join us, and buy your ticket to the 2012 Taste of the Nation event today.