Actor Jeff Bridges will join Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in northern Virginia to promote a new campaign to fight childhood hunger.
The Academy Award Winner, McConnell and Vilsack are teaming up with Share Our Strength, the Federation of Virginia Food Banks and a diverse group of corporate partners, education leaders, government agencies and community organizations to launch the Virginia No Kid Hungry Campaign today at Barcroft Elementary School in Arlington.
The public-private partnership will help to end childhood hunger in Virginia by connecting low-income children to key nutrition programs, including the Virginia Summer Meals for Kids Program, which will being providing meals to children immediately.
More than 17 million children in the U.S. don't reliably receive the food they need to lead healthy, active lives. But our kids aren't hungry because we lack food or because of a lack of food and nutrition programs, said Bridges, who is the No Kid Hungry National Campaign Spokesperson . Our children are hungry because we have lacked a big-picture strategy to connect them to the nutritious food they need to grow and thrive. The No Kid Hungry Campaign provides that strategy.
More than 218,000 children and teens in Virginia face hunger, and studies have shown that during the summer, children are at an even higher risk for both hunger and obesity because they lose access to regular, nutritious school meals. The Virginia Summer Meals for Kids Program, funded by the USDA, provides children free summer meals at hundreds of sites across the Commonwealth. However, according to a new report released today by the Food Research and Action Center, more than 80 percent of those eligible for free and reduced-price school meals who can get free summer meals don't participate.
The reality is that child hunger isn't just an educational issue or a health issue, it's a moral issue, said Gov. McDonnell. We must do everything we can to make sure our most vulnerable children are getting regular, nutritious meals, especially during the summer when they are most at risk. Parents can simply call 211 to find a summer meals site near them.
Bridges, who is best known for this role as The Dude in The Big Lebowski and his Academy-award winning turn as Bad Blake in Crazy Heart, has been active in childhood hunger charity work since 1984, when he along with a group of high-profile entertainment industry leaders founded the End Hunger Network. He is considered one of the most likeable actors in Hollywood.