In the U.S., 1 in 5 children can't rely on their next meal, but this September, people can make every meal count for kids simply by dining out. Nearly 15,000 restaurants are offering customers major deals in exchange for simple donations to No Kid Hungry, the campaign working to end childhood hunger in America.
With thousands of eating options on the menu—from family diners and fast food empires, to fine dining and neighborhood joints—there's a meal to match all tastes and budgets. And for every $1 donated, No Kid Hungry can feed a child 10 meals through on-the-ground programs and partnerships that connect kids with healthy food where they live, learn and play.
To find participating restaurants by zip code or state, visit NoKidHungry.org. Get social about your dine out experience by following @NoKidHungry on Facebook and Twitter, and share your story of how you made every meal count with #nokidhungry.
"If there's one thing chefs understand, it's connecting people with food," says Andrew Zimmern, creator and host of the Bizarre Foods franchise on Travel Channel and chef ambassador for the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry initiative. "More importantly to me, as a father, I understand very well that hungry kids can't learn, and kids who can't learn can't reach their best and brightest potential. I won't stand by and see kids fall short on their futures when there is a solution at hand."
The fundraising effort comes at a particularly important time for kids struggling with hunger: back to school. As children begin the 2016 school year, far too many are opening their textbooks on an empty stomach; only about half of kids who qualify for a free school lunch are also receiving breakfast—a critical meal for academic success. Research shows that when kids eat breakfast at school, attendance rates improve an average of 1.5 days more per school year, math test scores rise by 17.5 percent and kids are 20 percent more likely to graduate. No Kid Hungry is working with a growing number of leaders in school districts, cities and states across the country to make breakfast part of the regular school day, which leads to increased participation, so all kids start their school day ready to learn.
"This is 'family style' dining at its best," said Billy Shore, founder and CEO of Share Our Strength, the national nonprofit behind No Kid Hungry. "When people dine out at partnering restaurants during September, they are sharing their table with the 16 million children who can't count on their next meal."
Dine Out for No Kid Hungry is the largest restaurant-led initiative to help end childhood hunger in America. Since its launch in 2008, restaurants have raised $37 million in support of No Kid Hungry to help ensure every kid gets a healthy meal, every day. It is nationally sponsored by Founding Partner National Restaurant Association, as well as ARYZTA (La Brea Bakery & Otis Spunkmeyer), Citi, Ecolab, OpenTable, and Smithfield.
ABOUT NO KID HUNGRY
No child should go hungry in America, but 1 in 5 kids will face hunger this year. Using proven, practical solutions, No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger today by ensuring that kids start the day with a nutritious breakfast and families learn the skills they need to shop and cook on a budget. When we all work together, we can make sure kids get the healthy food they need. No Kid Hungry is a campaign of national anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength. Join us at NoKidHungry.org.