Shipping up a batch of brownies in your kitchen can be a first step in fighting childhood hunger around the country. The Great American Bake Sale encourages families, schools and churches to hold a bake sale and donate the proceeds to Share Our Strength, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to children suffering from hunger and food insecurity.
Last year more than 200,000 people baked cookies, cakes and pies to sell as part of the bake sale. The more than $500,000 they earned went to organizations that sponsor summer and afterschool feeding programs for kids.
Share Our Strength estimates that 12.6 million American kids currently suffer from hunger. The consequences of even short-term hunger, for instance over a summer, can be devastating and lifelong: poorer overall health, reduced social and psychological well being and lower academic achievement. Only 20 percent of American kids continue to receive food during the summer months. Share Our Strength hopes their fundraising efforts will expand local efforts to feed children all year long.
"We do a lot of other more high-end events, but we wanted to engage the average person to do something about childhood hunger," says Shalaya Henson, communications manager for Share Our Strength. "It’s really fun and you can do it with your kids and get the community involved."
To get started, visit greatamericanbakesale.org to register your organization. Once you register, you’ll receive a packet with tips on holding bake sales, coupons, recipes and posters. There’s also an area on the Web site where you can design your own bake sale Web page. Bake sales can be held through June 30.
While local organizations are holding their bake sales, other organizations that feed children are applying for grants. Last year grants were awarded in 39 states—the goal this year is to fill grants for all 50 states. In Illinois, grants went to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Northern Illinois Food Bank and the Illinois Hunger Coalition.