Hartford, CT (PRWEB) December 05, 2013
Today, End Hunger Connecticut!, a statewide anti-hunger and food security organization with headquarters in Hartford, convened community, government, state and national anti-hunger and food security advocates to discuss the economic impact of hunger in Connecticut. Participants worked together to develop strategies on ways to better leverage existing food and nutrition programs and policies in order to further reduce food insecurity levels across the state.
“Today’s symposium is a major step towards identifying how Connecticut will respond to the recent and impending cuts to federal nutrition program funding,” Lucy Nolan, Executive Director, End Hunger Connecticut!, said. “It is important for us to educate the community and state and government partners on where Connecticut currently stands in the national fight against hunger. We want to identify opportunities to establish deeper collaborations and advocate for policies that ensure all Connecticut residents have access to nutritious food for themselves and their families throughout the year.”
In a state ranked by the U.S. Census Bureau as the 4th wealthiest in the country, empty plates are an ongoing challenge. More than 400,000 Connecticut residents rely on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to put food on the table – a task made even more difficult in light of November’s 5.5 percent cut to SNAP. Additionally, more than 19 percent of Connecticut’s children are food insecure, yet the State has ranked dead last for the last eight consecutive years for the number of schools offering the federally-funded School Breakfast Program. During the summer months, only 1 out of 4 Connecticut children who receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year participate in free summer meals programs.
End Hunger Connecticut!’s Rich State, Empty Plates Symposium brought local and national experts to the table to discuss the impacts of hunger on health, education, and economic security and provide a wealth of information for participants to use in order to develop strategies and identify opportunities to advocate for preserving existing and establishing new and effective anti-hunger policies locally and nationally.
Following the Symposium, End Hunger Connecticut! held its Annual Meeting and recognized three anti-hunger champions with Hunger Leader Awards. Honorees were Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Clear Channel Radio, Connecticut’s Renee DiNino, and End Hunger Connecticut! volunteer Laurel Barrows. Governor Malloy has been instrumental in collaborating with End Hunger Connecticut! and the State Department of Education to increase the number of schools offering the federal School Breakfast Program, awareness and access to free summer meals programs, and in developing effective strategies for overcoming the barriers to participation in all of the child nutrition programs. Renee DiNino has been long time champion of the work of End Hunger Connecticut! and its Connecticut No Kid Hungry campaign, from contributing her talent and resources to supporting community events, recording and airing Public Service Announcements on all eight Clear Channel Radio stations statewide, to donating her time to emcee conferences about ending hunger. Volunteer, Laurel Barrows, has been involved with End Hunger Connecticut! for 3 years and has been instrumental in research and analyzing data for the organization’s use.
Rich State, Empty Plates was presented by End Hunger Connecticut! with the support of Pepperidge Farm (Title Sponsor). Additional sponsors include Wakefern/Shop Rite, Advanced Benefit Strategies and the CT USDA Food Distribution Program, among others.
About End Hunger Connecticut!
End Hunger Connecticut! is a statewide anti-hunger and food security organization. By focusing on advocacy, outreach, education and research, EHC! serves as a comprehensive anti-hunger resource for community organizations, legislators, and low-income families. To learn more, visit http://www.endhungerct.org.