Albertsons Companies Foundation and Entertainment Industry Foundation Awards $4.6 Million to Fund 110 Nationwide Programs
January 23, 2017
The Albertsons Companies Foundation, doing business as The Safeway 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 110 programs that aim to feed hungry children living in neighborhoods 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 Academy Award®-nominated 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 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. The funds were raised through the Hunger Is fall in-store fundraiser at Safeway and the rest of the 2,300 locations in the Albertsons Companies family of stores in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The fundraiser generated donations through customer purchase of participating products as well as customer donations at the check stand. To date, Hunger Is has raised more than $18 million and funded 273 programs. The grantees can be found at hungeris.org/grantawards.
The Food Bank of Delaware received $9,000 to help fund weekend breakfast meals through the Backpack Program. The gift will enable the Food Bank to provide 53 children with a bag full of weekend food for an entire school year – this equates to 4,134 breakfast meals, plus other shelf-stable meals such as macaroni and cheese, beef ravioli and more.
Ensuring that children have access to breakfast every day of the week is a priority for anti-hunger advocates across the country.
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. Students who qualify for free or reduced-cost school lunch are automatically eligible for breakfast. However, there are often barriers that make it difficult for students to receive breakfast in school , from many schools which do not participate in the program, to schools which restrict the breakfast program before-school hours, making participation difficult for students who cannot arrive at school early (compared to in-classroom programs).
Here in Delaware, legislation sponsored by Representative Ed Osienski, was signed by former Governor Jack Markell in September requiring all Community Eligibility Provision schools to provide breakfast to children in an alternative model (Grab and Go, Breakfast in the Classroom, etc.) starting in Fall 2017.
Regional charities located in areas where Albertsons Companies operate were invited to respond to Requests for Proposals. District Managers participated in the selection of local food or hunger-based organizations serving their immediate community.
Albertsons Companies’ 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.
“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.