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National Food Drive Will Help Alleviate Hunger This Summer

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National Food Drive Will Help
Alleviate Hunger This Summer

Sharing with Communities We ServeALEXANDRIA, Va., (April 2, 2002) – When Florida school foodservice director Marcia Smith envisions a food drive, she doesn't limit her sights to a single school or neighborhood. As this year's president of the American School Food Service Association (ASFSA), Smith is spearheading a nationwide food drive in April with the help of 55,000 other ASFSA members. Although the drive is a national effort, the "Sharing with Communities We Serve" campaign will benefit local food banks and charities.

Smith actually conceived the idea last year, but the urgency for such an effort took hold last fall after she discovered that donations to local charities were down in the wake of the Sept. 11 tragedies. At that time many individuals and corporations focused their giving on national relief funds. Even before Sept. 11, food banks across the country have struggled to keep up with demand. According to a report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, requests for emergency food assistance increased in 1999 by an average of 17% in American cities, with more than 60% of requests coming from families with children.

As a part of the “Sharing with Communities We Serve” campaign, school children across the nation will collect food for other children. "The goal of the food drive is to collect food specifically for children who do not have access to school meal programs during the summer," said Smith. “This is a time of year when food banks have additional needs for serving children who are out of school.” In particular, donations will help children who rely on school lunch and breakfast programs for a majority of their nutritional needs during the school year. During summer months, food banks tend to run low as the food donated during the holiday season begins to run out.

"Never has the need been more important," said Smith. "This is a rewarding way for us to give back to the communities we serve." Locally, schools will be conducting one-day, one-week or longer food drives in April. In Smith’s district 100 schools will participate in the food drive. The district school that collects the most food will have the opportunity to send a group of students and staff to a special ceremony at their food warehouse on Wednesday, April 24.

With its network of 52 state affiliates, hundreds of local chapters and 55,000 members, ASFSA reaches communities and schools throughout the United States. Before the end of her term, Smith will have the honor of announcing the total amount of food collected nationally during a special presentation at ASFSA's annual conference in Minneapolis in July.

ASFSA members can find out more information on the Food Drive in the Members Only section of this site.

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