Significant Partnership Bolsters Mission of Texas Hunger Initiative

Sept. 27, 2011

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The Texas Hunger Initiative (THI), a capacity-building project of Baylor University's School of Social Work, has entered into a new partnership with Share Our Strength, a national non-profit organization, as part of its No Kid Hungry campaign. The four-year partnership provides THI with $230,000 for 2011.

Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign is a national effort to end food insecurity in children by 2015, a goal the Texas Hunger Initiative shares for children in Texas, which currently has the second-highest childhood food insecurity rate in the country. The campaign seeks to connect children facing hunger to the appropriate federal nutrition programs, strengthen and support hunger initiatives already in progress and provide educational resources for hungry families.

"These are exciting times for the Texas Hunger Initiative, as they work relentlessly toward the goal of eradicating childhood hunger in Texas by 2015," said Dr. Diana Garland, dean of Baylor's School of Social Work, which houses THI and its staff. "It is an incredible boost and encouragement to have an organization with the capacity and vision of Share Our Strength to come alongside us."

The new partnership also provided for two new Texas Hunger Initiative staff positions.

Beth Drew serves as the No Kid Hungry Campaign Manager, connecting the Texas Hunger Initiative with the State Operations Team, a group of state agency heads tasked with streamlining the implementation of federal and state food programs in Texas. Additionally, Drew represents the Initiative on the Texas Food Policy Roundtable, a committee of non-profit, religious and corporate hunger advocates working to coordinate and improve the implementation of food policy in Texas.

Kasey Ashenfelter serves as the No Kid Hungry Field Director, community organizing on a local level to help communities across Texas strategically combat childhood hunger. Ashenfelter will help create Food Planning Associations, which are groups of community leaders and organizations tasked with assessing the hunger needs and resources in their area and throughout various communities in Texas.

"Hunger is a unique issue in that there is no shortage of means available to combat it. We have simply failed at getting the resources to those who need it," said Jeremy Everett, executive director of the Texas Hunger Initiative. "But with the help of partnerships like Share Our Strength, we are making significant strides in the right direction."

About Baylor University

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions.

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

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