By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
(Left to Right) Representative speakers from partner organizations, Retired Atlanta Falcon MVP Chuck Smith, Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning Commissioner Bobby Cagle,  Gwinnett County District Two Commissioner Lynette Howard,  Executive Director, Georgia Food Bank Association Danah Craft, Georgia’s First Lady Sandra Deal, Arby’s Foundation Executive Director Kate Atwood, Georgia Department of Education Nutrition Consultant Paige Holland, USDA Regional Director of Special Nutrition Lanna Kirk, and National Recreation and Parks Association Incoming Board Chair Detrick Stanford.

Georgia Food Bank Association gathers statewide leaders to
kick off Summer Feeding Program providing free meals for Georgia’s children
Georgia’s First Lady, Sandra Deal, Encourages Statewide Participation to Increase Opportunities for Georgia’s Children In Need

June 11, 2014 – Prominent Georgia state leaders gathered to promote the beginning of summer feeding programs at a kick-off event at Lucky Shoals Park in conjunction with the Georgia Food Bank Association (GFBA) and the Arby’s Foundation, the charitable arm of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc.

The event launched this year’s Summer Feeding Programs, which promote access to free meals and snacks for children from one to 18 years of age while school is out of session.

“Last summer, we fed 15 percent of Georgia’s children who were eligible for the free lunch through the federally administered summer free lunch program,” said Danah Craft - executive director, Georgia Food Bank Association. “This year, with the participation of many state leaders and corporate sponsors, we are working to increase access and awareness to ensure parents and children in need know where to find the three closest locations to go to eat a healthy summer meal.”

Statewide leaders, including First Lady of Georgia, Sandra Deal, gathered to announce the steps taken by the state and multiple partner organizations to increase access and participation in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer option (SSO),federally funded U.S. Department of Agriculture programs that are administered by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, and its counterpart, the Georgia Department of Education: School Nutrition Programs. Working as a team, public and private entities are increasing the number of sites available and expanding the mobile feeding program to provide healthy meals in remote locations statewide.

“Children need healthy, nutritious meals to grow their bodies and minds all year,” said Mrs. Deal. “Today’s event demonstrates the power of our state working together to help our children and our community. Our programs, and the future for Georgia’s children, are stronger, healthier and brighter when we work together.”

Joining Mrs. Deal at the event, included leaders of partner organizations including:

-   Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning Commissioner Bobby Cagle

-   Georgia Department of Education Nutrition Consultant Paige Holland

-   Gwinnett County District Two Commissioner Lynette Howard

-   National Recreation and Parks Association Incoming Board Chair Detrick Stanford

-   Arby’s Foundation Executive Director Kate Atwood

-   Retired Atlanta Falcon MVP Chuck Smith

-   USDA Regional Director of Special Nutrition Lanna Kirk

-   
Members of the Atlanta Dream team

SFSP and Seamless Summer Options (SSO) are federally funded U.S. Department of Agriculture programs that are administered by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, and its counterpart, the Georgia Department of Education: School Nutrition Programs. 

To find the closest participating site, parents can:

1.  Text “foodga” to 877877 from a phone, which will provide information on the closest site.

2.  Visit georgiafoodbankassociation.org
for a map.  

3.  Call 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1866-348-6479) for English-speaking participants or 1- 877-8-HAMBRE for Spanish-speaking participants.

4.  All three channels will update with new site locations throughout June.

Today’s event is the first of three statewide kickoff events for the SFSP. Additional events will be held on June 19 and 26 in Haralson and Burke counties respectively, and are a joint endeavor of Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Food Bank Association, The Southeast United Dairy Industry Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

For more information, visit the GFBAwebsite http://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/summer-food-service-program-sfsp  or contact
michele.chivore@georgiafoodbankassociation.org, (678) 365-4278.

About the Georgia Food Bank Association
The Georgia Food Bank Association is comprised of seven regional food banks that are part of the Feeding America network.  Together with their 2,300 partner agencies and congregations, they distribute more than 103 million pounds of food annually to Georgia families in need.  The food bank association’s role is to maximize the impact of its member food banks in the local community where they serve. To learn more, visit www.georgiafoodbankassociation.org .

About the Arby’s Foundation
The Arby’s Foundation, whose mission is to end childhood hunger in America, is the charitable arm of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. Building on a philanthropic heritage that has contributed more than $60 million to child-related causes since its inception in 1986, the Arby’s Foundation has launched a bold new movement to educate, mobilize and empower Americans with the knowledge and resources needed to ensure food security for every single child. Today, 16.7 million U.S. children—more than 1 in 5—face hunger daily; the Arby’s Foundation, through the AFA Service Corporation (Arby’s Franchise Association), Arby’s National Restaurant Fundraising Program, Community Grants Program, Corporate Partnership Programs, and community outreach initiatives such as the Hungry for Happiness Mobile Tour, has devoted its resources to providing access to wholesome food choices for children across the country. The Arby’s Foundation is a registered 501 (c) (3) organization headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. To learn more, visit www.arbysfoundation.org

About Share Our Strength
No child should grow up hungry in America, but one in five children struggles with hunger. Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign is ending childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. The No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need to effective nutrition programs like school breakfast and summer meals and teaches low-income families to cook healthy, affordable meals through Cooking Matters. This work is accomplished through the No Kid Hungry network, made up of private citizens, public officials, nonprofits, business leaders and others providing innovative hunger solutions in their communities.

About the Georgia Feeding for a Promising Future – No Kid Hungry CampaignT
he Feeding for a Promising Future - No Kid Hungry campaign was launched in November 2011 and is a partnership between Share Our Strength and the Georgia Food Bank Association, with support from Governor Nathan Deal. The goal of the campaign is to end childhood hunger in Georgia by connecting kids to effective nutrition programs like summer and afterschool meals and school breakfast.