The Albertsons Companies Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) announced that Hunger Is, their joint charitable program designed to raise awareness and funds to end childhood hunger in America, awarded over $4.6 million to fund hunger relief charities that aim to feed hungry children throughout the country.

“I am overjoyed to witness Hunger Is making a difference on a local level by awarding over $4.6 million in grants to provide more breakfasts to children in need. I’m so happy to help raise attention and start conversations about the critical issue of childhood hunger in America,” stated award-winning actress and Hunger Is Ambassador Viola Davis. “I was one of the millions of children who went to school hungry every day. I am proud to support an organization that is giving children the fuel that they need to succeed.”

Hunger Is once again invited qualified organizations to respond with approaches to increase access to free and reduced-cost school breakfast, to improve the nutritional quality of breakfast programs, and to expand weekend, summer and vacation feeding programs.

These grants are supported by the September 2016 Hunger Is fundraising campaign that included both customer donations at the check stand and donations generated by the purchase of participating products in more than 2,300 Albertsons Companies stores in 33 states throughout the U.S. Stores include Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, ACME Markets, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Carrs and others. To date, Hunger Is has raised more than $18 million and funded 273 programs. A list of grant recipients can be found at hungeris.org/grantawards.

Currently only half of the 22 million children in the U.S. who are eligible for free or reduced-cost breakfast receive this most important meal of the day. The following are examples of programs that will help increase access to healthy food for thousands of children:

• The Los Angeles Regional Foodbank was awarded a grant to support the creation of a new Children’s Breakfast Program, which will provide breakfast items for the weekend and summer months, ensuring they have access to breakfasts when school is out of session.

• Food Bank of the Rockies, in Denver, Colorado, was awarded a grant to support their Totes of Hope® program, which provides children with totes filled with child friendly food each Friday to eat over the weekend when not at school.

• Minnie’s Food Pantry, in Plano, Texas, was awarded a grant to support their Breakfast Club program, which provides healthy breakfast items to children and their families, as well as nutrition education classes.

• The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank was awarded a grant to support their School Backpack Program, which provides child-friendly, nutritious food items every week to be taken home in the child’s backpack on the weekends.

• Hunger Is also continued its support for The Idaho Foodbank, which was awarded a new grant for their backpack program. The program fills children’s backpacks with nutritious food each Friday so that the children have nourishment, not just during the week, but also over the weekend.

“The funds raised in our stores are continuing to make a positive impact for children and schools throughout the country,” said Christy Duncan Anderson, Executive Director of the Albertsons Companies Foundation. “Thanks to the generosity of our customers and the dedication of our store teams, more children will start their school day with the fuel they need to succeed.”

Albertsons Companies’ store divisions help select grant recipients in their region, in concert with the Hunger Is Advisory Committee (HIAC). The HIAC is comprised of leaders from renowned hunger advocacy organizations in the U.S., including the Center for Hunger Free Communities (Drexel University), a community-engaged research, service, advocacy and policy center; Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity; Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, an internationally renowned biomedical research institute focused on pediatric health; the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), the leading national nonprofit organization working to improve public policies and public-private partnerships to eradicate hunger and malnutrition in the U.S.; Hunger Free America, which operates the national hunger hotline and sponsors the nationwide Anti-Hunger and Opportunity Corps AmeriCorps VISTA program in 32 states; Share Our Strength, whose No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals; and WhyHunger, which supports grassroots solutions to end hunger and poverty by connecting people to nutritious and affordable food. The committee provides guidance in defining priorities and addressing needs, and makes funding recommendations for approval by the Albertsons Companies Foundation and the EIF Board of Directors.

“We are so proud of the serious impact the Hunger Is initiative has been able to make on the critical issue of childhood hunger in America,” stated EIF President and CEO Lisa Paulsen. “We are grateful to Viola Davis for sharing her personal story and for dedicating her time and energy to advance Hunger Is in its mission. Working with our valued partner, the Albertsons Companies Foundation and the members of the Hunger Is Advisory Committee, we will continue to dedicate our work to provide more breakfasts to children in need and to help America’s children be ready for more learning, more of life.”

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

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