Today, more than 50 million Americans are at risk of hunger, including 17 million children. Speaking at a Washington, D.C. area food pantry last week, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a call to the American public, corporations, schools, and community and faith-based organizations to get involved and make a commitment to end hunger. To aid in the effort, the Secretary announced a series of new online tools and volunteer initiatives to increase the number of those actively working to end hunger across the country.
"If our nation is to win the future, we must make sure that all Americans have access to the nutrition they need," said Vilsack. "Although USDA's nutrition programs provide assistance to one in four Americans and have kept the levels of food insecurity at bay during the recession, many eligible children and families do not participate. Working together, government, non-profit and faith-based organizations, and the public can make sure that no one goes hungry in the U.S."
At the same event, Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Patrick Corvington announced a commitment of 325 AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates that will be placed in anti-hunger organizations across the country this summer to feed more children by increasing participation in USDA's Summer Food Service Program, developing farmers markets and community gardens, teaching nutrition to families and youth, and increasing the long-term capacity of food pantries, soup kitchens, food banks, and other faith-based and neighborhood organizations.
At the End Hunger Volunteerism Portal at www.serve.gov/endhunger organizations can post volunteer opportunities and individuals can search for volunteer opportunities in their communities. This and other new efforts come on the heels of numerous efforts over the years by USDA and partners across America to end hunger. USDA also recently announced a series of grants to help states agencies and their partners focus on improving program access for individuals, children and families in need.