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The UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) is excited to announce a new initiative with No Kid Hungry North Carolina to help expand access to federal nutrition programs including School Breakfast and Summer Meals to reduce hunger in NC children.

No Kid Hungry NC is the North Carolina program of the nonprofit Share Our Strength’s national No Kid Hungry campaign. No Kid Hungry has expanded into sixteen states including North Carolina.

The organization has been in North Carolina since 2011 and coordinates with the 115 school districts in the state to reduce hunger by increasing school breakfast participation. No Kid Hungry NC also works closely with state agencies and local partners to provide access to summer meals for children when schools are closed.

The HPDP-No Kid Hungry NC partnership, which became effective March 1, will increase HPDP’s capacity for research related to improving nutrition for school-aged children. The partnership already has led to several research projects, such as HPDP’s NOURISH program that works to promote healthy eating habits among children in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

HPDP Director Alice Ammerman said, “We are delighted to welcome No Kid Hungry NC to HPDP, as food security is a critical public health problem. We have already initiated a number of research collaborations around school nutrition and summer meals programs.”

No Kid Hungry NC is led by Lou Anne Crumpler, state director for the program. Tamara Baker is the program manager and communications director, and Helen Roberts is the school outreach educator.

“Dr. Ammerman is respected across the country for her leadership in nutrition and public health. We are honored to be one of the initiatives at the Center,” Crumpler said.

“We are the only No Kid Hungry initiative based at a major public research university. Our funding partner Share Our Strength appreciates the tremendous contribution that the Center has made in advancing public health over many years. The Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, under the leadership of Dr. Ammerman, is the ideal home for the No Kid Hungry NC program,” Crumpler added.

Most of the No Kid Hungry programs focus on school breakfast and summer meals. Others also work on at-risk after school meals, expanding access to SNAP benefits, and promoting other federal child nutrition programs.

One of No Kid Hungry NC’s current projects is a statewide School Breakfast Challenge that encourages K-12 public schools to increase participation in their breakfast programs. State leaders recently announced the Challenge winners for 2013 and recognized the top performing schools in the state; USDA has reported that more than 10,000 additional children ate school breakfast in North Carolina in 2013. Plans for a second Challenge for the fall of 2014 will be announced soon.

Also under the leadership of Share Our Strength is Cooking Matters, the national nutrition education program of No Kid Hungry that teaches families how to shop and prepare healthy foods on a budget. HPDP has used the Cooking Matters curriculum for several years in its educational efforts to families in our state.

Nationally, No Kid Hungry gets support from the Food Network, celebrity chefs, corporate and nonprofit partners. The national spokesperson for No Kid Hungry is Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges.

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