Effective Strategies to Alleviate Childhood Hunger Described in New Report

A new report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Sodexo Foundation takes an in-depth look at efforts to curb childhood huger that could potentially be scaled up and used in cities across the country.  The publication, “Strategies to Combat Childhood Hunger in Four US Cities,”(pdf) looked at initiatives in Boston, New Haven, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Overall, the report identified that successful city-wide anti-hunger efforts comprise seven components:

  • Teaching healthy behaviors at school
  • Offering summer food programs for school children
  • Creating public/private/non-profit partnerships, including policy councils, to coordinate city-wide efforts
  • Increasing access to healthy and affordable food, and encouraging involvement through local garden and farm programs
  • Supporting local food banks
  • Implementing assistance programs for School Breakfast, After School Snack, and Summer Food Service Programs
  • Adopting and advocating anti-hunger legislation and policies

According to the report, “Boston’s case study illustrates the power of leadership in bringing public and private agencies into a collaborative and holistic approach to combating childhood hunger, and the roles played by these agencies. . . . Underlying Boston’s effort are the many years of leadership in anti-hunger programming provided by Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the coordinating role of the Food Policy Council which he has established.” Urban agriculture, participation in federal food programs, and increased nutritional value in food served in Boston Public Schools have all played a role in diminishing child hunger in Boston.

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