SEATTLE - The ambitious goal is to end childhood hunger in Washington and across the nation by 2015. Actor and anti-hunger advocate Jeff Bridges is hoping the "No Kid Hungry Campaign" will help accomplish it. Bridges, along with governors and others interested in the cause, kicked off the national effort this week. A similar, statewide campaign is already underway.
Bridges says there are nearly 300,000 children in Washington living in households that struggle to put nutritious food on the table every day, and 17 million kids across the nation who need reliable access to food - and one of the solutions requires no extra funding.
"Make better use of the programs that already are in existence, and that's what this new campaign that I'm the national chairperson of is all about, the No Kid Hungry Campaign."
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Organizers say the campaign is a public-private partnership to close the gaps between existing food resources and the families who need them. The plan was developed by Share Our Strength, an organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger.
The campaign is aimed at breaking down barriers to participation in programs that are already in place, says Bridges, including nutrition education and such federal anti-hunger efforts as SNAP (formerly food stamps) and the School Lunch and Breakfast programs.
"Right now there's over a billion dollars that's available for states to use for these programs that is not being used."
He says they are simply asking people to pledge their concern.
"By taking this pledge, I'm adding my voice to the national movement of people who are committed to ending childhood hunger in America by 2015."
In Washington, Share Our Strength has partnered with The Children's Alliance to launch a state-specific No Kid Hungry Campaign that includes a ten-point plan to end childhood hunger. More information is available at www.nokidhungry.org.