Photo Credit Kristin Barlowe

Photo Credit Kristin Barlowe

This summer, country music artist Kellie Pickler joins the fight against child hunger in the United States by serving as the national spokesperson for the ConAgra Foods Foundation Hunger-Free Summer program. The joint effort between the ConAgra Foods Foundation and Feeding America helps provide children with access to nutritious meals, especially in the summer. Pickler will kick off the third year of the program by visiting Nashville’s Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee where she will assist in food fulfillment activities as a volunteer and unveil a downloadable activity booklet that offers families a way to donate meals to Feeding America while teaching children about the issue of hunger. For each booklet downloaded from www.facebook.com/ConAgraFoods between today and Sept. 3, 2012, the ConAgra Foods Foundation will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal* to Feeding America, up to 500,000 meals this summer. The organization will also donate the monetary equivalent of one meal for every “Share” on Facebook.

During the school year, almost 21 million children in the United States depend on free or reduced-priced school meals to help keep them from going hungry. Sadly, millions of these same children do not participate in summer meal programs due, in part, to a lack of awareness of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Summer Food Service Program,” which provides children from low-income families with free, nutritious meals during the summer months. The ConAgra Foods Foundation Hunger-Free Summer campaign helps raise awareness and additional meals to support food banks and reach children who would otherwise go hungry when school is out.

“At some point, all of us have encountered hungry children in our own community, but I was shocked to learn that millions of kids may go hungry during the summer,” said Kellie Pickler. “That is why I am honored to be working with the ConAgra Foods Foundation and Feeding America to raise awareness of this problem and show there’s help through programs like Hunger-Free Summer.”

Pickler is kicking off this year’s Hunger-Free Summer initiative today with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, where she will fill backpacks alongside local volunteers. In addition, she will launch “The Hunger Avengers” downloadable activity booklet, created by the ConAgra Foods Foundation, which tells the story of a band of kids who fight the menacing Hunger Monster. The activity booklet is designed to bring families together to better understand the hidden issue of child hunger in America, in a way that’s approachable, as well as provide a turnkey way for consumers to get involved in the campaign.

The goal of the Hunger-Free Summer campaign is to help participating Feeding America network food banks serve an additional one million meals through their unique and innovative, community-based programs. This summer, 23 food banks in 15 states have received grants from Feeding America, thanks to $5 million in funding provided by the ConAgra Foods Foundation.

“Summer is supposed to be an exciting time for children,” said Ann Rindone, director of Cause and Foundation at ConAgra Foods. “But, for millions of children in the United States, summer can be an uncertain time. It can mean there aren’t meals on the table or food in their bellies. This is why the Hunger-Free Summer program was developed, and we’re proud that, since its launch, the program has provided more than one million meals to these children in need.”

As Feeding America’s Leadership Partner in the fight to end child hunger, ConAgra Foods and the ConAgra Foods Foundation have collectively donated more than 290 million pounds of food and invested more than $37 million dollars to combat child hunger since 1993. The Foundation, the philanthropic organization primarily funded by ConAgra Foods, is in the midst of a $10 million, five-year commitment to Feeding America, the largest donation ever made to Feeding America specifically to fight child hunger.

For the complete list of 2012 Hunger-Free Summer grant recipients visit or to learn more about the program, visit us at www.facebook.com/ConAgraFoods.

*$0.13, the cost of one meal to be provided through Feeding America’s network of food banks. ($1.00 equals 8 meals.)

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