The Safeway Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) have announced that Hunger Is, their joint charitable initiative to fight childhood hunger in America, has awarded over $1.3 million in grants to 198 local charities to connect hungry children living in neighborhoods to healthy food throughout the country.

“I am honored to help bring attention to Hunger Is and increase public awareness of the problem of childhood hunger right here in America, and I am thrilled to see how swiftly we are responding to the issue at the most local levels with the award of over $1.3 million in grants,” stated Academy Award-nominated actress and Hunger Is ambassador Viola Davis. “Millions of children go hungry every day in the United States. I was one of those children and I pledge to tell and re-tell my story until we have eradicated childhood hunger across the nation,” Davis continued.

The Hunger Is campaign kicked off in April with a month-long, in-store fundraiser in more than 1,300 Safeway stores across the U.S. Additional funds were generated through online donations at HungerIs.org. In its first month, Hunger Is raised more than $4.6 million. Managers of each participating Safeway, Vons, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Pavilions and Randalls store nominated a local food or hunger charity serving their immediate community. The selected charities received $1,000 for each nomination. When multiple nominations were aggregated, awards ranged from $2,000 to $63,000.

“Our customers heard our call to action and chose to help make a difference in the lives of children,” said Larree Renda, Executive Vice President of Safeway Inc. and Chair of The Safeway Foundation. “We are pleased that the first Hunger Is grants will help to feed children in these same neighborhoods which gave so generously.”

Hunger Is grants were awarded based on recommendations from the Hunger Is Advisory Committee (HIAC) comprised of CEO’s from the leading hunger advocacy organizations in the U.S. including Drexel University, Center for Hunger-Free Communities, Feeding America, Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), New York City Coalition Against Hunger, Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign, and WhyHunger. The HIAC provides guidance in defining and addressing needs and makes funding recommendations for approval by The Safeway Foundation and EIF Boards of Directors. Many of the local charities receiving the Hunger Is grants are affiliated with these advocacy organizations.

“We are thrilled to make these grants, which we know will make a significant impact in local communities in 20 states. We could not be more grateful for the generosity of the Safeway shoppers who made these grants possible,” said EIF President & CEO Lisa Paulsen.

More information about the issue is available at HungerIs.org, along with simple ways for individuals to donate.

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