Actress Monique Coleman Joins America's Second Harvest and ConAgra Foods Foundation to Pack Lunch Bags for Hungry Kids

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Effort to Help Offset Increased Demand on Foodbanks Due to Rising Food Costs

Over the past year, America's Second Harvest has seen a 20 percent increase in demand for food relief services in foodbanks across the country

High School Musical actress Monique Coleman and America's Second Harvest - The Nation's Food Bank Network - kicked off the ConAgra Foods Foundation "Full Kids Full Potential" campaign today. Hundreds of kids volunteered at the Hollywood and Highland complex today, filling shopping bags with donated food that will be distributed by the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank. The event was held to raise awareness of the significant increase in demand that foodbanks across the country are currently experiencing. The campaign is inspired by the ConAgra Foods Foundation community involvement platform, "Nourish Today, Flourish Tomorrow," which reinforces the importance of feeding kids well, so they do well in school.

Coleman handed out her exclusive "Fight Childhood Hunger" lunch bag to the first 500 kids who packed shopping bags full of food products donated by ConAgra Foods Foundation including Chef Boyardee, Orville Redenbacher, Snack Pack, Manwich and Peter Pan. Coleman designed the special edition lunch bags as part of a national retail campaign benefiting America's Second Harvest. Families can also visit the ConAgra Foods Foundation Web site at http://www.NourishKidsToday.org to find tips on organizing food drives so that kids can get involved and raise awareness of the hunger issue in their communities.

"Kids are getting ready to head back to school and it's important to ensure that they have full stomachs with the balanced meals they need to reach their full potential," said Coleman. "I hope our efforts today inspire kids across the country to organize their own food drives to help hungry kids."

The current state of the economy is making it increasingly difficult for working parents to make ends meet. Many parents are being forced to make the difficult decision between paying the bills and putting food on the table. More families are turning to food banks for relief.

"Over the past year, America's Second Harvest has seen a 20 percent increase in demand for food relief services in foodbanks across the country," said Michael Flood, Executive Director Los Angeles Regional Foodbank. "The reality is that foodbanks are finding it difficult to keep pace with the increased demand."

More than 12 million American children - that's one in six - go hungry each year - they don't get enough food and nutrients to live active, healthful lives. The risks associated with childhood hunger go beyond simply missing meals. It means missing vital nutrients required for healthy development and productive lives. Even a short period of malnourishment--not eating a complete, balanced diet--can have irreversible effects on a child's physical, emotional and cognitive development

"Child hunger in America is an invisible problem and The ConAgra Foods Foundation is leading the charge to fight this issue," said Chris Kircher, president of the ConAgra Foods Foundation. "But it takes more than food to fight hunger which is why the Foundation's platform, Nourish Today , Flourish Tomorrow, seeks to meet immediate needs as well as find long-term solutions in the areas of child hunger and nutrition education."

The "Fight Childhood Hunger" lunch bags designed by Monique Coleman are available for free through a nationwide cause marketing campaign benefiting America's Second Harvest. For every lunch bag requested, ConAgra Foods will donate $1 to America's Second Harvest, up to $50,000. The campaign appeared in a recent newspaper insert and is showcased at food retailers across the country throughout the month of August.

ConAgra Foods Foundation has partnered with America's Second Harvest since 1993 to address the issue of child hunger in America. The partnership is the largest corporate initiative solely dedicated to fighting child hunger and has resulted in donations of more than $25 million to help feed more kids through child hunger grants and millions of pounds of food, over the past 15 years.

For more information on the Foundation and the Monique Coleman "Fight Childhood Hunger" lunch bag please visit http://www.nourishkidstoday.org.

About ConAgra Foods Foundation
The ConAgra Foods Foundation's Nourish Today, Flourish Tomorrow platform is dedicated to raise awareness of the more than 12 million children in America who are at risk of hunger and don't have enough food to live active, healthful lives, and to aggressively pursue sustainable solutions in the fight against child hunger. The Foundation is committed to building a community of people who are passionate about ensuring that all kids have access to the food and facts they need to eat nutritiously, live balanced lifestyles, and succeed in school and life. ConAgra Foods Foundation invests in national and local partnerships with high-impact, not-for-profit organizations, such as America's Second Harvest, that take an innovative approach to addressing needs in the core areas of hunger and nutrition education. For more information, please visit the "About Us" section of the ConAgra Foods Web site at http://www.conagrafoods.com or http://www.nourishkidstoday.org

About America's Second Harvest
America's Second Harvest -- The Nation's Food Bank Network is the largest charitable domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through its network of more than 200 member food banks, America's Second Harvest annually provides assistance to more than 25 million people in need, including more than 9 million children and nearly 3 million seniors in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each year, America's Second Harvest secures and distributes more than 2 billion pounds of food and grocery products to support feeding programs at approximately 63,000 local charitable agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after-school programs, and Kids Cafes. To learn more, please visit http://www.secondharvest.org.

About the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank
The Los Angeles Regional Foodbank is a non-profit, charitable organization established in 1973 and is one of the largest food banks in the United States. Through a network of nearly 900 charitable agency sites, the Foodbank supplies enough food for over 500,000 meals each week in Los Angeles County. The Foodbank is affiliated with America's Second Harvest, the Nation's Food Bank Network. For more information, visit http://www.lafoodbank.org.

Contacts:
Michelle Stevenson
ConAgra Foods Foundation
michelle.stevenson @ fleishman.com    
office: 323-762-1807 cell: 310-990-0178

Melissa Baer
America's Second Harvest
baer @ sunshinesachs.com
office: 212-691-2800 cell: 901-338-8902

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