Last month, 8,292 restaurants of every type, their employees and customers came together to help end childhood hunger in the U.S. by participating in Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry fundraising program. Together, their generosity raised more than $5 million—more than twice what was raised last year—for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign to ensure that every child in the U.S. gets the food they need, every day. 

“The effects of childhood hunger in this country are far-reaching,” says Billy Shore, Share Our Strength’s founder and chief executive officer. “This is not a political issue; it’s a common sense issue. When we feed our kids, they grow up smarter, stronger, and healthier.”

More than 16 million children in America struggle with hunger. By connecting kids in need with nutritious food and teaching their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals, the No Kid Hungry campaign surrounds children with nutritious food where they live, learn, and play. In particular, the funds raised through Dine Out For No Kid Hungry are used to connect kids to effective nutrition programs like the School Breakfast Program and Summer Meals Programs, and to identify and eliminate barriers that prevent kids from accessing programs like these and other existing food and nutrition resources.

For example, of the more than 21 million kids in the U.S. who rely on free and reduced-price school lunches during the school year, slightly more than 3 million get a free meal during the summer through the federal summer meals programs. Why? There is a shortage of sites offering the program, and many families don’t realize the program is available to them. This past summer (2012), Share Our Strength invested more than $1.2 million from the No Kid Hungry campaign to overcome these barriers and help more kids take advantage of summer meals programs. Funding from the campaign also helped develop new summer meals sites across the country, and helped produce and distribute information about summer meals sites to families, teachers and local community leaders in high-need areas.

All September long, restaurants across the country rallied their employees and customers to raise funds in a variety of creative ways. Participating restaurants included Arby’s, Benchmarc Restaurants  by Marc Murphy, Bruegger’s Bagels, Denny’s, Corner Bakery Cafe, Fuddrucker’s, Joe’s Crab Shack, La Madeleine, Legal Sea Foods, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Shari’s Restaurant and Pies, Ted’s Montana Grill, Togo’s, and many more.  

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