March 21st, 2011

From a Food Giant, a Broad Effort to Feed Hungry Children

The New York Times

CONAGRA FOODS, whose social cause is ending child hunger, is taking a new approach to raise the issue’s visibility. The company is starting its largest campaign ever, including a television special, to spur more grass-roots involvement to make sure no child goes hungry.

The Omaha-based ConAgra financed a 30-minute program, hosted by Al Roker of the “Today” show on NBC, to tell the stories of American families who, each day, face the question of whether they will have enough to eat. One 8-year-old boy says, “I eat less so my sisters can have another meal.”

“Child hunger is not a problem, it’s a crisis,” Mr. Roker said in an interview, referring to the 17.2 million children the Agriculture Department estimates are at risk of lacking food. In the special, Mr. Roker, along with an NBC correspondent, Natalie Morales, highlights the effects of hunger on children’s ability to learn and complete their education.

To amplify its campaign, called “Child Hunger Ends Here,” ConAgra also is incorporating social media, including bloggers, digital placement and paid advertising to spread information about the increasing prevalence of child hunger and provide consumers with practical suggestions on how to help their communities.

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