Tennessee Department of Human Services Kicks Off No Tennessee Child Hungry Awareness Campaign
Pledge support to raising awareness on child hunger in Tennessee #NoTNChildHungryPledge
NASHVILLE –Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Dr. Raquel Hatter announced the launch of an awareness campaign calling attention to childhood hunger in Tennessee and urging Tennesseans to pledge support to help ensure no Tennessee child goes hungry. In Tennessee, more than half a million children may go hungry each day. One in four Tennessee children faces the risk of hunger. This call to action is to generate awareness, prompt change, and help ensure that No Tennessee Child Goes Hungry.
In March 2015, DHS and the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS) announced a partnership in the quest to ensure that no Tennessee child would go hungry during the summer months by seeking community partners to participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Now, a year later and more than 4 million meals served, DHS is expanding on its work to increase momentum and raise awareness about this important issue.
Gov. Bill Haslam has recognized the importance of child hunger in Tennessee by proclaiming Friday, March 11, 2016 as “No Tennessee Child Hungry Day.” The governor encourages Tennesseans to pledge their support to raise awareness for this campaign to end childhood hunger. Also in recognition of “No Tennessee Child Hungry Day,” the State Capitol cupola was illuminated in orange.
“We are so grateful for the amazing support from Tennesseans to add their strength to the No Tennessee Child Hungry Campaign,” Tennessee Department of Human Services Commissioner Dr. Raquel Hatter said. “While partnering with Tennesseans across the state on this very important issue for more than a half million Tennessee children, we remain focused on our commitment to addressing poverty through the two generation strategy. This is the primary solution for changing this reality for Tennessee children and families. Thank you Tennessee!”
Knowing the impacts of hunger on a child’s physical and mental well-being, the Tennessee Departments of Health and Education are supporting the awareness campaign.
“Good nutrition and regular physical activity is essential for children, helping them build stronger bodies and immune systems to resist illness, to perform better in the classroom and to achieve optimal physical, mental and social development,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Taking the right steps today to help children stay healthy will mean healthier adults tomorrow.”
“It is critical that our students enter the classroom every day ready and willing to learn,” Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said. “This means that we must first meet their basic needs, ensuring they have access to nutritious meals that fuel them to learn.”
“A child’s need for good nutrition does not end when the school bell rings for summer vacation,” said Robin Bailey Jr., Southeast Regional Administrator for the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. “Summer meal programs give communities an opportunity to play a lead role in combating hunger and helping promote nutrition and physical activity throughout the summer months, ensuring they return to school healthy, strong, and ready to learn.”
As a part of No Tennessee Child Goes Hungry awareness campaign, DHS is looking to engage Tennesseans across the state and across all sectors to demonstrate their support of this very important cause. If you can say yes to any of the following questions, then this call to action is for you:
- Do you ever worry about the 1 in 4 Tennessee children who may be hungry every day?
- Are you committed to making a difference?
- Do you want to be a part of the solution?
- Do you want to be a part of the future celebration of reducing the rate of food insecurity in Tennessee?
Leading up to and throughout the summer of 2016, DHS will host a number of opportunities for Tennesseans to engage, raise awareness, and show support.
What do we need from you now?
Visit www.tn.gov/humanservices to sign the No Tennessee Child Hungry Awareness Campaign pledge and let us know how you, your business, faith based organization or community group can participate or have already participated in efforts to make sure Tennessee’s children receive the meals they need to learn, grow, and be successful. This pledge will demonstrate your concern and support of more than half a million Tennessee children.
Join the call to action for Tennesseans to fight hunger in their local communities by donating, volunteering, raising awareness or other activities that support the end of hunger.
Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services and the Summer Food Service Program at www.tn.gov/humanservices.
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CONTACT: Devin Stone
OFFICE: (615) 313-5786
*photo of State Capitol cupola available upon request