Too many kids in this country struggle with hunger. We believe that, together, we can change this.
In the U.S., more than 15 million children1 do not have the food they need; they also experience or worry about hunger before, during and out of school. This lack of nourishment negatively impacts their health and development, ability to learn and overall happiness.
We cannot ignore the issues of hunger our country faces. We believe that business must be part of the solution. We have seen first-hand how ending hunger for children unlocks their true potential, and in turn, the future of their communities and our country overall.
That's why we are dedicated to working with our partners, both national and local organizations, and people that care across the country, to create a world where children grow up with the food they need to reach their full potential in school and life.
For over 20 years, our company, brands, the ConAgra Foods Foundation and our partners have been committed to this mission of improving the quality of life for millions of children and families. Let's make child hunger in this country a thing of the past.
1 Household Food Security in the United States in 2014, ERR-194, USDA, Economic Research Service (Sept. 2015)
As we all know, food is a critical part of a family's quality of life, happiness and success. Preparing and eating meals is a time when households and families share experiences, build relationships and turn to one another for support.
This has inspired our year-round approach to addressing child hunger, which includes making food donations, empowering employees to volunteer and conducting campaigns that motivate families and communities to take action.
Child Hunger Ends Here
Our Child Hunger Ends Here campaign continues to support and empower consumers to put millions of meals on the tables of children and families struggling with hunger. This initiative builds on our 20+ year commitment and partnership with Feeding America.
Since launching in 2010, the monetary equivalent of 33.9 million meals have been donated to Feeding America, over and above the millions of meals we donate each month to the Feeding America network through product donations.
Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization with a network of food banks across the United States, continues to be an important partner in our commitment to addressing the child hunger cause.
Together, in 2015, we have donated the equivalent of nearly 2.5 million meals a month in food donations.
Feeding America food banks distribute food donations through food pantries and feeding programs to improve the quality of life of children and families in virtually every community in the U.S.
Because we have operations across the country, Feeding America is the ideal partner for food donations due to its food safety handling, process efficiency, and reach of their donations.
Every day, our employees are active in improving the quality of life of children and families across the U.S. Thanks to their time, energy and expertise, they are raising awareness and funds, volunteering with local food banks and lending unique skills to address specific food bank system needs.
Employee Service Activities
Throughout the year, our employees lead and participate in activities that tackle child hunger as well as additional causes they personally care about.
Every April, employees across the country unite to support their communities during ConAgra Foods Month of Service. It's about donating their time and talents to address child hunger by packing backpacks, preparing meals, sorting food and getting involved in other acts of service to realize a future in which no child goes hungry.
Each September, employees rally behind Feeding America's Hunger Action Month, serving as ambassadors for the child hunger issue in multiple ways. For instance, some employees take on the SNAP Challenge, only spending $4 a day on food and meals, the average budget per person for food insecure families.
Applying Our Expertise
Food Bank Reaches More Children and Families With Critical Meat Supplies
Meat is an important component of a healthy diet, but it is also the most expensive to procure, store, and distribute. The Food Bank for the Heartland in Nebraska was struggling to provide sufficient meat to food insecure children and families each year.
Two of our supply chain employees, Craig Andrews, Lean Supply Chain Director, and Ken Ng, Lean Supply Chain Specialist, launched a Value Stream Mapping project, a tried and tested business method, to analyze the Food Bank's current systems and identify improvement opportunities. Because of the project, the Food Bank for the Heartland now has the capacity to manage a new warehouse, which will enable them and their partners to manage meat supplies much more efficiently. As a result, they now reach more children and families with the food they need.
"It is amazing to be able to be actively involved in supporting the health and well-being of children and families in Omaha communities and beyond. There is an exciting opportunity for food banks across the country to identify efficiency improvements and grow their impact on communities nationwide."
Empowering Families Through Financial Education
Financial literacy and budgeting skills are critical to supporting food insecure families so they can improve their quality of life. Identifying the urgent need for financial education for local families, Susan Stinnett, Senior Director of Tax at ConAgra Foods, and her team partnered with Head Start, a national government organization that offers education classes to parents in local communities, including Omaha, to design a curriculum.
Now, twice a year, parents can attend a 5-week course on basic budgeting and financial skills. To provide the most relevant information, the content of each class changes to meet the needs of those attending. Participants are also invited to continue their education by attending other Head Start courses on nutrition and cooking.
"Our Finance team was looking for an opportunity to utilize our talents as volunteers in the community. With Head Start, we are able to provide parents with a much-needed forum to share their concerns, exchange ideas and learn first-hand practical ways to help their families."
The team has since been invited to run financial-education classes at the Omaha Learning Exchange, which will enable them to share their financial skills with a greater number of families.
Rallying Behind the Issue
We are passionately committed to supporting the communities where our customers and employees live and work.
In partnership with the local Food Bank for the Heartland, our local Engineering Team arranges volunteer support on a regular basis to pack lunch boxes and backpacks for food insecure children in the local community. They also support the Food Bank's annual Shine the Light on Hunger event, which brings together ConAgra Foods chefs and volunteers to prepare and serve a holiday dinner for 2,000 food insecure families in Omaha.
In conjunction with the Hunger-Free Summer program, Jamie Wagner, a Communication Specialist, helped with the Greater Chicago Food Depository's mobile food bank meal deliveries for food insecure families.
"It was an eye-opening experience, seeing the kids who arrived with their moms and dads to get a lunch that day. They were ordinary kids, just like mine, but this meal would help them have enough energy to run and play and do all the things kids love to do in the summer."
The experience inspired Jamie to launch a 5K run on our company headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. The event raised over $11,000 for the Food Bank for the Heartland and also motivated other employees to discover how they can get involved.
ConAgra Foods Foundation
Child hunger is a complex issue. It is linked to the many challenges families face every day as they strive to maintain successful employment, a safe home and good health.
We recognize that we cannot solve it alone. That is why we partner with leading national and local nonprofits and experts to carry out research and test new ideas, as well as inspire ourselves, communities and others to take action.
Together, we are helping to improve the quality of life for millions of families throughout the country by taking action to solve child hunger.
Since 1993, with our partners, we have been tackling child hunger on multiple fronts:
- Feeding Kids: Providing food and meals to children when they are out of school — at breakfast, after school, during weekends and in the summer.
- Empowering Families: Supporting families and households to make choices that work for them through understanding food and nutrition and how to stretch their resources to prepare affordable meals.
- Pursuing Solutions: Investing in research and testing new ideas to understand what works, as well as inspiring ourselves, communities and others to take action.
More than 1 in 5 children in the U.S. live in households that do not have consistent access to food throughout the year2. Hunger is most prevalent before and after school, and during weekends, holidays and over the summer.
More than simply a place to eat, children want to go somewhere where they have the opportunity to take a break, be social, build relationships and have fun.
The ConAgra Foods Foundation puts a top priority on providing children with food when they need it most.
Through partnering with leading nonprofits, we strive not only to serve meals but also to provide a place and experience where kids are safe, comfortable and can interact with their friends and family.
2 Gundersen, C., A. Satoh, A. Dewey, M. Kato & E. Engelhard. Map the Meal Gap 2015: Food Insecurity and Child Food Insecurity Estimates at the County Level. Feeding America, 2015.
Feeding America Partnership
With Feeding America, we share an ambitious vision — that every child in the United States has access to the food and knowledge they need to live active, healthy lives.
Feeding America is the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization, reaching food insecure children and families when they need it most. This means they are pioneering innovative child hunger solutions, such as Kids Cafes, which provide safe, welcoming spaces for children to come after school, do their homework, interact with their friends, and eat a nutritious meal. Together we have been able to expand Kids Cafes to over 250 locations nationwide.
Feeding America also conducts in-depth research. Its Map the Meal Gap research shows the needs of families and communities in every state of the U.S. As a result, Feeding America and its partners are able to provide more meals to families when they need it most. Having strong, local teams on the ground means that Feeding America is able to identify critical needs, which inform the development of its programs.
Today, we support two of Feeding America's signature child hunger programs, which are addressing these needs: Hunger-Free Summer and the Child Hunger Corps.
Critical Meals for Kids During Summer
When school is out, more than 80 percent of the 22 million children who rely on free or reduced-price school meals are left wondering about their next meal.3
Through Feeding America's national Hunger-Free Summer program, we are able to provide meals to food insecure children and families via the food bank system to ensure children have the food they need to learn and grow during the critical summer months.
From 2010-2013, the number of children reached through these summer feeding programs increased by 166% to 33,000 children. In 2014, that number increased again by almost 39% to reach 46,166 children.
The Hunger Free Summer program also supports organizations in the Feeding America network to pilot and scale new, innovative ways to provide more meals to food insecure kids during the summer months.
3 2013 U.S. Department of Agriculture/Food & Nutrition Service
A New Generation of Leaders Tackling Child Hunger
We face a reality where there is a shortage of dedicated staff and volunteers to lead the fight to end child hunger nationally and locally. We know we cannot do this alone.
Together with Feeding America, we are spearheading a critical effort to recruit new talent to tackle child hunger through their Child Hunger Corps.
The Child Hunger Corps is a team of professionals focused on increasing the number of nutritious meals and snacks served to children in need by local food banks. By studying the community where they work, the team can determine how to support or expand current programs as well as measure and share results.
Child Hunger Corps has already contributed to an increased number of nutritious meals and snacks provided to food insecure families. They are also increasing the visibility of the issue of child hunger in their local communities and helping food banks raise money.
Over the long term, we are committed to supporting the Child Hunger Corps as they continue to train and empower a new generation of leaders to address the fight against hunger.
Child Hunger Corps member Mya Price works at the God's Pantry Food Bank in Lexington, Kentucky. In talks with local schools and Youth Service Center Coordinators, it became clear that the Food Bank's existing programs were doing a great job of reaching elementary and middle school students but not high school students. In response, Mya and the Food Bank team are piloting the first School Pantry Program at a high school location to reach food insecure students with the food they need out of school. For the pilot, a pantry has been set up at a high school location, and 120 students visit once a month to select food items of their choice. In addition to fresh produce, there is toothpaste, soap, shampoo and other personal items that the high school students may use. The School Pantry Program high school pilot has received a lot of support from local community organizations, and the aim is to take the model to other locations across Kentucky.
All families can relate to the struggle of stretching resources to provide their kids with the nutritious meals they need to learn and grow.
Regardless of income, food decisions are stressful — What to buy? What to prepare? What is safe? We are committed to making meal planning, budgeting and cooking simple, easy and convenient for all families.
This means, together with our partners, we provide kids and families with the practical information and strategies they need, especially around nutrition, planning meals, buying groceries and food budgeting, to reduce the anxiety surrounding everyday food decisions.
Helping Families Plan, Shop for and Cook Healthy Meals
By empowering all generations of a family — parents, teenagers and younger children — they will have the skills and information to make choices that positively impact their health and overall happiness in a meaningful, lasting way.
Training Teens to Teach Nutrition, Budgeting and Cooking Skills
The National 4-H Council's Food Smart Families program trains 4-H teen leaders to teach their peers, family and local community about proper nutrition through events such as cooking workshops, grocery store tours and community dinners. Together, we are investing in and working with them to pilot and scale this innovative program.
The program shows how effective teenagers can be at influencing their peers and family with important nutrition information and practical everyday tips.
Josh Cole Brodnax is a 4-H Teen Leader teaching courses and running activities as part of the Food Smart Families program. Josh grew up living in public housing in East Moline, Illinois. As a teen athlete, he was always aware of how important it was to eat healthily in order to improve his physical strength and fitness. Many people in his family had health problems, and Josh used his knowledge of nutrition to advise them on what food to buy to reduce sodium intake and prevent hypertension.
Today, Josh uses his knowledge about food to run sessions for elementary and middle school students to empower them to eat healthy, nutritious meals. He teaches them about the importance of eating dairy products to build strong bones and shows them how to make a healthy snack. Sometimes, the kids take the food they make home to share with their families. "Parents have told me that they have never been taught this and wish they had when they were younger." Josh also feels that being part of 4-H Food Smart Families has supported his personal development: "I've learned how to be a better leader, stepping up to take charge and being comfortable in front of a group."
Helping Families Plan and Prepare Nutritious Meals
From 2010 to 2013, 1,366 families were empowered through our Share Our Strength Cooking Matters courses, gaining insight on how to budget, shop for and cook nutritious meals for their families.
Reaching Families Where They Are
We know that hunger is most effectively addressed at the community level. Only in working together with a diverse range of organizations are we able to reach more families from different backgrounds and cultures.
For over 20 years, we have been committed to empowering trusted organizations, networks and individuals that deliver critical health and nutrition messages.
In order to connect more eligible families to Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs, the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) trains non-traditional hunger organizations in the community, such as National League of Cities and National Parks and Recreation Association.
Research indicates that Hispanic families are disproportionally affected by Child Hunger.4 The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) pioneers culturally-relevant solutions to reduce child hunger and improve the quality of life of Hispanic families. Together with the NCLR, we are able to provide:
- Curriculums and training for community health workers (Promotores) who disseminate critical health and nutrition education information to families in their local area.
- Young Latino community leaders to train community health workers (Promotores) in their community.
4Hunger in America, Feeding America, 2014
Improving the Quality of Nutrition Education
Experts argue how important it is to tailor the delivery of nutrition information, budgeting and cooking skills based on the specific needs of families and communities.
There are 4,000 nutrition education curriculums to choose from in the U.S. and program practitioners need better guidance to evaluate which ones meet the needs of the families and communities they support.
"The more nutrition education is designed to meet the specific needs of a family or community, the more effective it will be in impacting the long-term quality of life of that population."
To overcome this challenge, we collaborated with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its Foundation to develop the Guide for Effective Nutrition Interventions and Education (GENIE). GENIE is an evidence-based tool to support program planners to provide more effective nutrition education courses.
Ending hunger goes beyond providing meals to children and families when they need it most. Children and families thrive when effective, sustainable solutions are found.
That is why we invest in research and test new ideas to understand what works, as well as to inspire ourselves, communities and others to take action.
"The ConAgra Foods Foundation is always trying to figure out how to do things better by applying best practices and an evidence-based approach."
Critical Research to Support the Field in Solving Child Hunger
To solve child hunger and build strong families and thriving communities, anti-hunger experts and organizations require resources and tools to support them in their work.
Since 1993, we have been guided by expert partners in our on-going commitment of learning and tracking of the child hunger issue, supporting research and investing in innovative initiatives.
Community-Wide Approach in Our Own Backyard
Experts emphasize the need to bring together the strengths and expertise of all types of organizations to address child hunger, including nonprofits, schools, government officials, faith-based groups, the business sector, among others. We know we cannot make change alone.
In 2014, we launched a pilot program in Omaha, Nebraska, to develop and test the insights, systems and expertise needed to address child hunger in communities nationwide.
The Omaha Metro Area Initiative brings together community organizations and nonprofits, including Omaha Public Schools, to collaborate around a shared goal to reduce food insecurity by 10% over three years and improve the quality of life for children and families.
The initiative is informed by hunger expert Dr. Craig Gundersen's research on the best way to invest in the community and reduce and prevent food insecurity among children and families.
Talent to Lead the Fight Against Child Hunger
We all face a real, constant challenge in the fight to end child hunger nationally and locally: there is a shortage of dedicated staff to lead this fight.
Our team has partnered with Feeding America to spearhead a critical effort of recruiting new talent to tackle child hunger through Child Hunger Corps.
The Child Hunger Corps is a team of professionals focused on increasing the number of nutritious meals and snacks served to children in need by local food banks. They study the community where they work, support or expand current programs, and measure and share results.
The program has already contributed to an increased number of nutritious meals and snacks provided to food insecure families. Child Hunger Corps professionals are also increasing the visibility of the issue of child hunger in their local community and helping food banks raise money.
Over the long-term, the Child Hunger Corps is training and empowering a new generation of leaders to address the fight against hunger.
Child Hunger Corps member Mya Price is working at the God's Pantry Food Bank in Lexington, Kentucky. In talks with local schools and Youth Service Center Coordinators, it became clear that the Food Bank's existing programs were doing a great job of reaching elementary and middle school students but not high school students. In response, Mya and the Food Bank team are piloting the first School Pantry Program at a high school location to reach food insecure students with the food they need out of school. For the pilot, a pantry has been set up at a high school location and 120 students visit once a month to select food items of their choice. In addition to fresh produce, there is toothpaste, soap, shampoo and other personal items that the high school students may use. The School Pantry Program high school pilot has received a lot of support from local community organizations, and the aim is to take the model to other locations across Kentucky.
Learn About Grants
By partnering with and supporting leading nonprofits and experts across the country, we are able create local and national solutions to end child hunger.
While we do not accept unsolicited grant requests, we do continually seek partnerships with results-driven organizations working to solve child hunger at the grassroots level, as well as those bringing proven solutions to scale across the U.S.
The ConAgra Foods Foundation builds national partnerships with leading nonprofit organizations with the goal of improving the quality of life of millions of families by taking action to solve child hunger.
All partnerships support our core, complementary strategies — feeding kids, empowering families, and pursuing solutions — and focus on bringing solutions to scale across the country.
Partnerships at this level are personally solicited by the ConAgra Foods Foundation team and are not facilitated through a request for funding process.
Current National Partners include:
- 4-H Food Smart Families
- Food Research and Action Center
- Feeding America
- Point of light
Local grants made by the ConAgra Foods Foundation go to support efforts to end child hunger in the communities where our employees live and work.
Organizations that receive community grants are identified by the ConAgra Foods Foundation through two distinct programs:
1. Community Impact Grants
Through our Community Impact Grants program, we partner with impactful, grassroots organizations working to improve the quality of life for children and families in communities where our employees live and work.
- The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago
- Grow Dat
- Michigan Hunger Solutions
We are currently working on enhancing our Community Impact Grants program; more information about the new program direction will be available in the second half of 2015.
Please note the ConAgra Foods Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant requests for the Community Impacts Grants program.
2. Nourish Our Communities Grants
Our employees are dedicated to supporting local organizations and causes, making donations and volunteering their time in their communities all year round.
To support our employees' passion and commitment, we award Nourish Our Communities Grants to nonprofit organizations nominated by employees.
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties
- Back Pack blessings
- Milton Public Library at Rose Hill
Note: Organizations will only be considered if they are located in the communities where our employees live and work, and the process is driven solely by employee nominations.
We are committed to building and supporting a community of people who are passionate about ending child hunger and giving them the tools they need to get involved. There are many ways to engage, from cause marketing with our brands, to volunteerism, where lending time, talent and a voice to fighting child hunger create meaningful change.
From learning about child hunger, we know that many people want to get involved but find it hard to know what steps to take. Below are a few ways to get involved and give your time, energy and expertise to much-needed efforts in your local community.
- Collect Food: Contribute nonperishable food and personal-care items to nonprofit organizations to help families access the groceries they need to prepare nutritious meals and live a healthy lifestyle.
- Raise Money: Financial gifts of any size help nonprofit organizations provide more meals and support to children and families when they need it most.
- Prepare, Serve or Deliver Food: Food rescue groups, food banks, soup kitchens and pantries rely on volunteers to sort and pack food, as well as to prepare and serve meals.
- Donate Your Skills: Offer your professional expertise (i.e., marketing, logistics, accounting, technology, etc.) to nonprofit organizations to help them increase their impact.
- Serve on a Nonprofit Board: Nonprofit organizations are often looking for active and effective board members. Board members typically define the mission, set policies and goals, guide programs and support fundraising efforts.
- Connect Families to Food Assistance Programs: Help families understand which Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs, such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), WIC (Women, Infants and Children Program), and the Summer Food Service Program, they are eligible for and support them through the enrolment process.
- Increase Access to Fresh Produce: Support the development and expansion of local Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs), which make fresh produce affordable and available in low-income communities.
- Raise Awareness: Write to elected officials, make phone calls and/or join your local food action board to inform public policy discussions and increase community dialogue about the issue of child hunger.
Visit www.hungervolunteer.org and download the Ending Hunger Through Citizen Service Toolkit, produced in partnership with the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, to learn more. The Toolkit provides step-by-step instructions and resources on the actions listed above.
Don't forget to share your stories and inspire others on Facebook and Twitter.
Building on the ConAgra Foods Foundation's over 20-year commitment to Feeding America, ConAgra Foods and our family of brands launched the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign in 2010 to help caring people put millions more meals on the tables of children and families struggling with hunger. The difference we are seeing is significant. More than 18 million meals have been donated to Feeding America through consumer action, over and above our on-going donation of millions of meals each month to the Feeding America network.
Join us in ending child hunger — getting involved is simple:
- Look for 22 of our participating brands with the red pushpin and code.
- Enter codes at ChildHungerEndsHere.com.
- 1 code = 1 meal* donated
With your help, our goal this year is to donate 3 million meals* to Feeding America. This ambitious goal can only be achieved together. Join us today and together, we can make child hunger a thing of the past.
* For every 8-digit code from participating products entered at ChildHungerEndsHere.com by 1/7/16, ConAgra Foods will donate 10¢, the cost for Feeding America to provide one meal through its network of local food banks. Maximum: 3 million meals. Guaranteed minimum donation: 1.5 million meals ($150,000). Limit 5 code entries per person/computer each day. Valid in the United States only.
More Than 40,000 Youth Volunteer to Make Their Mark on Hunger
Thank you to those who volunteered during this year's Make Your Mark on Hunger campaign to help fight hunger in communities nationwide. Through the generosity of volunteers, the campaign more than doubled its goal of 20,000 participants, with a total of 42,628 youth volunteering to help in the fight against hunger. And for each youth engaged in service, the ConAgra Foods Foundation donated the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America, up to 20,000 meals*.
With 16 million children in America dealing with food insecurity, generationOn, the youth service division of Points of Light, made it their mission to create the Make Your Mark on Hunger campaign challenging kids and teens to fight hunger and take action by getting involved in meaningful service activities in their communities.
During the six-week campaign, volunteers signed up through teachers, parents, youth workers, and on their own, to take on a volunteer service project. Volunteers received tools and idea kits for getting involved. From hosting sports-tournament fundraisers to packing healthy meals in weekend backpacks, the youth volunteers did their part to help put food on the table for those without enough to eat.
* For each youth engaged in service recorded on generationon.org/hunger from March 15, 2015 through April 30, 2015, the ConAgra Foods Foundation donated 10¢, the cost for Feeding America to provide one meal through its network of local food banks. Maximum donation of 20,000 meals ($2,000). Valid in U.S. only.
Kids Pledge to Have a Positive Impact on Child Hunger
Anyone can help make a difference in the fight against child hunger, no matter what their age—that's what ConAgra Foods and the ConAgra Foods Foundation set out to prove.
Working with generationOn, the youth service division of Points of Light, ConAgra Foods and the ConAgra Foods Foundation enlisted youth volunteers to help fight hunger in their own communities with ideas that were downright inspired.