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New Kids Cafe After-School Meals Program Opens for Hungry Children in the Bronx


Bronx, NY, September 17, 2002 — With one in four children in New York City going hungry, after-school meal programs have emerged as key sources of food and nutrition. For many of the city's children, these programs and school meal programs provide the only meals that they receive for the day. To reduce the growing problem of childhood hunger in New York City, the Food Bank For New York City, ConAgra Foods and America's Second Harvest have joined together to open the first Bronx Kids Cafe, an after-school meals program for low-income children. In addition, Hebrew National, a brand of Con-Agra Foods, Inc., will be supporting the Bronx Kids Cafe with ongoing donations of food and on-site employee volunteering.

The new Kids Cafe, called DrumStick Cafe, is located at the East Bronx Child Development Center in the South Bronx. It is a weekday meals program for 80 low-income, school-age children. More than one-third of Bronx residents live below the poverty level. In addition to providing food to hungry children, the ConAgra Kids Cafe offers cultural activities, like African dance and drumming, nutrition education for families, meal planning and social activities.

"Kids Cafes offer an ideal opportunity to combine the best of each other's resources to help build impoverished communities from the inside out," says Lucy Cabrera, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Food Bank For New York City, Food For Survival. "The Bronx Kids Cafe serves a critical role in helping us to nourish children, as well as the community."

Hebrew National, a brand that has been based in New York for almost a century, has committed to adopting the Bronx Kids Cafe as its charitable initiative. Beyond regular donations of product, Hebrew National employees will volunteer their time at the new Kids Cafe on an ongoing basis.

Kids Cafe is celebrating its 10th anniversary as a national program this year. A program of America's Second Harvest and sponsored nationally by ConAgra Foods' Feeding Children Better Program, Kids Cafe is now one of the nation's largest charitable meal service initiatives addressing childhood hunger. The extensive long-term effects of undernourishment on children's growth and learning ability have been documented repeatedly by scientists in the health-related fields.

One in four children in New York City are going hungry every day. The Food Bank's 2001 NYC Hunger Study, conducted in collaboration with America's Second Harvest, revealed that over 500,000 children throughout the city are turning to food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters for food. And one-third of families with children receiving food assistance are physically experiencing hunger. Nationwide, children already represent the largest segment of our society experiencing hunger.

"Childhood hunger should not exist in this country," says Lynn Phares, president of ConAgra Foods' Feeding Children Better Foundation. "But it does exist — and we're working to find solutions. If we can feed hungry children, we can give them more options to succeed."

ConAgra Foods' Feeding Children Better Program is the largest corporate initiative dedicated solely to attacking childhood hunger in the United States. ConAgra Foods' Feeding Children Better Program is:

  • Opening 100 Kids Cafes by the end of 2002.
  • Revolutionizing the way food is procured and distributed through the creation of the national Rapid Food Distribution System. This program has the potential to reclaim 200 million pounds of food that could be donated to the hungry every year but is not, often for logistical reasons.
  • Buying trucks for about half the nation's food banks by 2003. 
  • Sponsoring a public service advertising campaign with the Ad Council that is bringing the issue of childhood hunger into the spotlight.

Feeding Children Better is an innovative partnership between ConAgra Foods and America 's Second Harvest, the nation's largest hunger-relief organization. "ConAgra Foods' commitment is an investment in the future. Hunger is a critical issue in the United States and steps such as these will ensure that no child grows up hungry," says Robert H. Forney, president and chief executive officer of America 's Second Harvest.

Food Bank For New York City, Food For Survival, was founded in 1983 to coordinate the procurement and distribution of food donations from manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and government agencies to organizations providing free food to the hungry. A member of America's Second Harvest, the Food Bank is now the largest food bank and one of the largest distributors of free fresh produce in the country. The Food Bank provides the food for over 200,000 meals served each day by more than 1,000 nonprofit community food programs — including soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, low-income day care centers, Kids Cafes, and senior, youth and rehabilitation centers — throughout the five boroughs of New York City. For more information, visit www.foodbanknyc.org.

ConAgra Foods' Feeding Children Better initiative, a multi-year, multi-million-dollar commitment to attack childhood hunger, is the nation's largest corporate initiative dedicated solely to fighting childhood hunger. ConAgra Foods is one of North America's largest packaged food companies, with a strong presence in consumer grocery as well as restaurant and foodservice establishments. ConAgra Foods' consumer brands also include: Hunt's, Healthy Choice, Armour, Bumble Bee, Louis Kemp, La Choy, Lunch Makers, Knott's Berry Farm, Wesson, Country Pride, Blue Bonnet, Kid Cuisine, Parkay, Reddi-wip, Cook's, Butterball, ACT II, Slim Jim, Eckrich, Chef Boyardee, Orville Redenbacher's, PAM, Snack Pack, Van Camp's, Peter Pan, Hebrew National, Gulden's, Pemmican, Brown 'N Serve Sausages, Swiss Miss, and many others. For more information, visit www.conagrafoods.com and www.feedingchildrenbetter.org.

America's Second Harvest is the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization with a national network of nearly 200 regional food banks and food-rescue programs, serving all 50 states andPuerto Rico, which distributes 1.4 billion pounds of donated food and grocery products annually. The America's Second Harvest network supports approximately 50,000 local charitable agencies, operating more than 94,000 food programs, including food pantries, soup kitchens, women's shelters, Kids Cafes, Community Kitchens, and their local organizations that provide food assistance to 26 million hungry Americans, including eight million children and four million seniors each year. For more information, visit www.secondharvest.org.

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