Childhood Hunger Gets Chopped

Just knowing that more than 17 million children in America (nearly one in four) struggle with getting enough to eat every day was grounds for Marc Murphy to take real action. The Food Network "Chopped Champion" judge is used to cutting down unacceptable food practices, and childhood hunger is one of them.

Now in its fourth year, September 18-24 marks "Dine Out for No Child Hungry," a weeklong program launched by Share Our Strength, the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger and improving overall nutrition. SOS builds public-private partnerships to connect kids with nutrition programs (school breakfast, summer meals, etc.) and invest in local community organizations that fight hunger. Their Cooking Matters program teaches families how to cook and shop for healthy meals on tight budgets.

SOS is working to fully implement these programs by 2015—a difficult mission which has garnered the attention and efforts of chefs like Alex Guarnaschelli, Aaron Sanchez and Food Republic's co-founder, Marcus Samuelsson. Murphy volunteered to lend his culinary clout to SOS as the project's spokesperson—and his New York City restaurants to "Dine Out for No Child Hungry." Thousands of restaurant owners across the country have followed suit, donating a portion of this week's tabs to SOS.

Murphy and his colleagues have appeared in print and broadcast announcements encouraging Americans to dine at participating restaurants this week. "The influence, compassion and enthusiasm of Marc Murphy will be invaluable in communicating how simple it is for anyone, anywhere to join our fight against hunger," says Debbie Shore, co-founder of SOS.

"Ending childhood hunger in America by 2015 is something everyone can contribute to," says Murphy. "As a culinary professional and, more importantly, as a father, ensuring that our children can take advantage of community programs and healthy eating education is crucial. If you typically eat out, you can help end childhood hunger by simply dining out at any of the more than 4,000 restaurants participating in this amazing campaign."

Check out Share Our Strength's "Dine Out for No Child Hungry" page to see a list of restaurants involved in the campaign, and take the pledge to eradicate childhood hunger by 2015. SOS is on track to double last year's $1.5 million dollar fundraising effort, so go ahead and order that second appetizer (or third cocktail). It's for a great cause.

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