Nov 24 2011

Thanksgiving Is For Giving Thanks

Is there a reason to say thank you this year? Thanks for what, you may ask. If we look at the economy, unemployment is at an all time high. Lots of Americans in every state are out of work. American soldiers, away from their families, are stationed all over this globe protecting life and the spirit of freedom. We are in the midst of an election campaign and our President and congressional electorate can’t work together to come up with a jobs producing agreement or budget reduction framework. All over the world, we are seeing a disenfranchised public push to oust an aging autocracy. Europe, facing huge debt and unemployment is on the verge of a grand recession. From catastrophic weather events to unexpected land shifts, to territorial fights, people all over this world are in a state of need. World famine (925 million people: WFP) and poverty are at an all time high. Internally, despite our wide spread food insecurity and rising hunger (50 million people), the population in the United States is getting fatter. Statistics from 2008 revealed that there will be a huge surge in obesity and diabetes by 2030. Now, current research (Northwestern University-Feinberg School of Medicine, presented at the AHA Meetings in Orlando, Florida November 16, 2011) reveals that by the year 2020, ten years earlier than previously expected, the majority of American adults will ...

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Mar 12 2011

March 4 Hunger: Graehm Gray

I Just got back from the March 4 Hunger which took place on a beautifully cool morning on the Broad-walk in Hollywood, Florida. Over 400 runners, walkers and joggers took part in this great event which raises money for Feeding South Florida. People from all over the country including vacationers, residents, boot camp workoutsters , and kids ran walked and jogged the 5K (3.1 mile) course in temperatures starting in the fifties and ending in the  60’s. With the ocean breezes, salt air and sunshine, the conditions couldn’t have been better! Feeding South Florida is an amazing not-for-profit organization that is devoted to “empowering and assisting people in need and improving their lives”. They provide food and other grocery products to the hungry and educate the community to fight hunger and poverty. With one in six adults and one in four kids in the United States alone in the hunger column daily this organization has its work cut out for it.  The poverty numbers have increased over the past few years with this current economic slow down.  Almost 60 million Americans are at the poverty level. There are over 21 million kids (children 18 and under) at the poverty level. In Florida alone, there are over 1 million children( 18 and under) and 2 million adults (age 19 and older) in the poverty classification. In 2009/2010, Feeding South Florida provided over 24 ...

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Jul 19 2010

Graehm Gray: House Education and Labor Committee passes the Child Nutrition Reauthorization

Let’s congratulate our bipartisan representatives in the United States Congress for passing the legislation: Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act (H.R. 5504) on July 14th, 2010.  We are all aware that millions of kids come to school each and every morning hungry. According to Share Our Strength (Strength.org), over 12 million kids go to sleep each night with food insecurity. And we also know that the only chance at a healthy and nutritious meal (breakfast and or lunch) for these children is at school. There have been multiple studies published that demonstrate the importance and benefit of an adequate breakfast on the learning and skills of children. What will this legislation do? Here are the highlights: Improve Access to School Meal Programs Increase the number of eligible children enrolled in the school lunch programs by using Medicaid/SCHIP data to directly certify children who meet income requirements without requiring individual applications and requiring states to establish and execute a plan to increase rates of direct certification. Provide enhanced universal meal access for eligible children in high poverty communities by eliminating paper applications and using census data to determine school wide income eligibility. Increase children’s access to healthy school breakfasts by providing competitive grants to school districts to start up or improve their program. Improve Access to Out of School Meal Programs Ensure fewer children go hungry year round by providing meals ...

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Jan 06 2010

Graehm Gray:Will Banning Bake Sales Decrease Childhood Obesity?

By Graehm Gray Editor- In- Chief I was surfing the news channels this past long New Year’s weekend and catching up on my huge stack of news papers and magazines and came across several stories about the Department of Education (DOE) in New York, banning bake sales in schools in an attempt to decrease obesity. At first, it seemed to make sense. I thought that there must be millions of kids eating cake and cookies at these sales. I read the entire memo  issued June 29, 2009, in accordance with the polices and initiatives of the New York DOE’s Wellness Policy to “improve the quality and nutritional value of foods and beverages that are available for children.” New York, already one of the first states to display calorie and nutritional values of foods on sale to the public and in restaurants and eliminate trans fats, may be on the cutting edge with this latest move to blunt the obesity epidemic, an epidemic that has yet to have any viable solutions. Or are they? Okay, so you “it’s my right to eat whatever I want, whenever I want” followers are already lining up to say this is yet another unconstitutional action. Aren’t bakes sales a part of our culture? Bakes sales raise money for good causes at County Fairs, religious centers and the Great American Bake Sale sponsored by the Share Our Strength ...

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Nov 10 2009

Graehm Gray-Giving Thanks!

I sat down to write my thoughts on what this year’s Thanksgiving 2009 means to me and I realized that the holiday has been lost in translation. I am trying to look at the big picture for a moment. I listen to the morning and nightly news and I just about want to check myself into a self help center-can you all say depressing! What are we giving thanks for? Unemployment is at an all time high-over ten percent. That means not since the period from September of 1982 through June 1983, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, have more American’s been out of work. Now according to our government, the “recession” is over. What? Yea, I know, before everything turns around, it’s supposed to get a lot worse. Well, we are at “it’s a lot worse” and I’m no rocket scientist, but according to many expert economists, “we haven’t seen anything yet.” Does that mean 11 percent unemployment? Now, tell me again why we are giving thanks? Okay, maybe we are heading for a national health plan to cover the millions of Americans that have no insurance. And maybe we will see the end to insurance companies denying insurance based on “pre-existing” illness, and just maybe we will start to see affordable health coverage. That’s in the plus column. Our troops overseas engaged in two fronts -back to ...

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Sep 03 2009

Chef Allen Susser: Ending Childhood Hunger

By Chef Allen Susser Regional Spokesperson and Chair Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation Miami Americans are feeling the effects of a troubled national economy. Soaring fuel and food prices are taking their toll on families, with no sign of relief in sight. These economic hardships affect our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. In the United States, more than 12 million children are at risk of hunger. In Florida alone, more than 627,000 children are at risk of hunger. Nearly 1 in 10 Florida households are food insecure—that's more than 680,000 families who lack access to the nutritious foods they need to lead healthy, active lives. As a chef, I take pleasure in feeding people. As a citizen, I find it appalling that people in my community are hungry. Twenty years ago, I joined Share Our Strength's efforts to fight hunger. In 1988, the organization created Taste of the Nation, the nation's premier culinary benefit dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America. I chaired Share Our Strength's first Taste of the Nation event in Miami, and continue to be part of Share Our Strength's national efforts. Since then, we've raised more than $5 million in Florida through Taste of the Nation events in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Palm Beach and Orlando. Share Our Strength has raised more than $200 million to end childhood hunger nationwide. Recognizing the need for a more coordinated approach to address childhood hunger ...

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