CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 15 Classics - Page 61

One in 6 kids in the U.S. don’t get the food they need. That’s a startling fact. Hunger in America isn’t always so easy to see; you may not come face-to- face with it in your day-to-day, but it’s a real issue affecting far too many Americans. No Kid Hungry is taking huge strides to help. Below, I spoke with Jenny Dirksen National Director of Culinary Events, and Allison deBrauw- ere, Associate, Public Relations and Partnerships for No Kid Hungry, to learn more about this initiative. What’s your background and when did you get involved with No Kid Hungry? JD: My background is in the kitchen, I start- ed line cooking in college and completely fell in love with it. I was fascinated by food and how to bring people together and around the table. I had an opportunity in 2000 to lead the kitchen I was working in, Union Square Hospitality Group. The group started a department dedicated to philanthropy and getting the restaurant involved with different charitable boards. Sometime between 2003-2005, Jenny served on the Taste of the Nation committee in NY and helped them reach fundraising goals, etc. After 11 years with Union Square Hospitality Group she knew she wanted to give back. She began organizing Taste of the Nation events, the annual Harvest Dinner, and NYC’s No Kid Hungry dinner to name a few. She continued to oversee events which she did until last year. Now, her focus is on re- cruiting new chefs into the org., bringing them from fundraising into advocacy. exist with hunger are all logistical—like school breakfast, which is an easy was to focus on what kids need. In NYC, for the longest time, breakfast was served univer- sally, before the first bell of the day. Logis- tically, could the kids get there before the bell rang? There was also stigma—will kids show up? Would kids rather go hungry than risk social isolation? Yes. Also, families didn’t know these programs were availa- ble. We provide awareness and education, too. NKH works with families to let them know these programs are available to their kids. The offer alternate breakfast programs that don’t isolate kids, like grab and go meal times and breakfast served in the class- room—removing the element of stigma al- together. And what about during summer? There’s no safety net when school’s out of session, and NKH works with local communities, states, Tell me a bit about No Kid Hungry and its initiatives: We are a national campaign focused on ending hunger in America, connecting kids with the food they need every day. We bring solutions to market. The barriers that © Hundred-to-One LLC 2017. All rights reserved.