Hunger and starvation can devastate families, but Share Our Strength has made it a priority to inspire the “haves” to share their strength with the “have nots.”
The hunger-fighting organization’s Web site, Strength.org, provides potential do-gooders with a wealth of information and ideas to combat hunger. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
Share Our Strength started in 1984 by organizing a handful of chefs to cook for fund-raisers. Now, as the site states, it mobilizes thousands of individuals in the culinary industry to organize events, host dinners, teach cooking and nutrition classes to low-income families and serve as anti-hunger advocates.
“To bring even more resources to the fight against hunger and poverty, we build creative partnerships with a range of industries, including retail, financial services and music—and we create community wealth, resources generated through profitable enterprise to promote social change,” reads the site.
The organization’s philosophy is simple: “It takes more than food to fight hunger.”
That is why Share Our Strength focuses its energy on both short- and long-term solutions like food assistance, job training, economic development programs and advocacy.
“We also believe it takes each one of us, sharing our strength, to make a difference,” reads the site. “Through our creative events and programs, chefs, restaurateurs, authors and artists as well as accountants, consultants and business executives help raise awareness and funds to end hunger and poverty.”
Share Our Strength organizes several annual events to combat poverty and hunger.
Its Great American Bake Sale encourages people across the country to host bake sales to fight childhood hunger. The Children’s Hour challenges Americans to donate an hour’s earnings to give children a healthy start in communities nationwide. Share Our Strength also hosts the Dinner Series, which is a series of multi-course, gourmet dinners bringing together the world’s most elite chefs in the fight to end hunger.
These events and several others are detailed on the organization’s site.
American Express, Tyson, Timberland, Evian, Whole Foods and many others have partnered with Share Our Strength to combat hunger.
With more than 33 million Americans unable to afford enough food to meet their basic needs, Share Our Strength has its work cut out.
“Though most poor families in America are working families, the low wages earned by millions of Americans are not enough to cover the cost of housing, medical care, child care, transportation, clothing and food,” reads the site. “Employment is simply not enough to safeguard against hunger and poverty.”
Share Our Strength also has its eyes on the problems of hunger abroad.
When famine struck Ethiopia in 1984, Share Our Strength was there to help. The group has partnered with “non-government organizations in Ethiopia to support feeding programs, community development projects, and education initiatives,” according to the site.
And in the midst of the impending famine Ethiopians face today, Share Our Strength has developed a feeding center model that will help alleviate food distribution obstacles that currently exist in many parts of Ethiopia.
Jodi Mathews is BCE’s communications director.
To learn more about Share Our Strength, visit its Web site at www.strength.org.