UI Receives $47,300 Grant to Expand Child-Hunger Relief Program in Twin Falls and Power Counties

Wednesday, June 12 2013

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho is teaming up with the ConAgra Foods Foundation to help put food on the table in Twin Falls and Power counties in Idaho, where Feeding America recently reported there are nearly 4,700 children facing food insecurity.

ConAgra Foods Foundation awarded the university a $47,300 Community Impact Grant, where UI Extension will work with Idaho nonprofits and Hispanic families in the fight against child hunger and food insecurity in the two counties. Food insecurity is defined by the USDA as an occasional inability to acquire adequate food due to lack of sufficient money and other resources.

“Although we have done a good job reaching Hispanic families, the ConAgra grant allows us to reach more families using methods that are not permitted under our traditional funding arrangements,” said Paul McCawley, associate director of UI extension and project leader.

Through Eat Smart Idaho, UI Extension aims to develop new strategies for Spanish-speaking families to learn about food quality, healthy eating, getting the most for their food dollars and incorporating physical activity into their lives; all in terms of their own Latino culture and diets. The ConAgra grant also includes funds for Spanish-speaking instructors as well as transportation and child care costs to increase participation in educational programs.

Extension is joined by the UI Office of Community Partnerships (OCP), Idaho Hunger Relief Task Force (IHRTF) and the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs (ICHA) to develop a long-term collaboration and specific strategies for addressing food security issues in the Hispanic population.

“Hispanic children are more than four times as likely as non-Hispanic white children to be living with very low food security. At the same time, programs such as Eat Smart Idaho and the Idaho Food Stamp Program are underutilized by these families. We need to examine this discrepancy," Kathy Gardner, IHRTF director said “Receiving the ConAgra Foods Foundation grant gives us the resources to reach this community, to strengthen skills for healthier eating and increase food security.”

In addition, students in UI journalism and mass media professor Rebecca Tallent’s public relations case studies and issues management class will work closely with IHRTF and ICHA to organize community focus groups, conduct interviews and provide feedback necessary to increase the cultural relevance and effectiveness of the Eat Smart Idaho program.

“This is an excellent opportunity for my students to not only learn about research in a hands-on application, it also gives them the opportunity to provide a service in the not-for-profit sector, something many of them say they enjoy and appreciate,” Tallent said. “Because we live in such a multicultural world, I also appreciate the fact the students will be reaching out beyond their own cultures, which will provide them with some wonderful opportunities to explore beyond their own cultures and beliefs.”

The University of Idaho is one of 12 nonprofit organizations in eight states across America selected to receive a 2013 Community Impact Grant from the ConAgra Foods Foundation. Grantees are selected from areas with the greatest number of children at risk of experiencing hunger, and/or where ConAgra Foods employees reside.

“Without access to healthy food – even temporarily – children can face life-long wellness consequences,” said Kori Reed, vice president, Cause and Foundation, at Con-Agra Foods. “That’s why programs like Eat Smart Idaho are so important. Being on the frontlines every day, UI Extension education leads to better nourished children so they can unlock their highest potential, and we want to empower that success.”

Now in its fourth year, the ConAgra Foods Foundation has invested more than $2 million in Community Impact Grants programming – including enrollment in government-assistance programs, nutrition education, advocacy and direct access to food. The program aims to provide more than seven million meals to children across the country.
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About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho inspires students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Through the university’s $225 million Inspiring Futures capital campaign, private giving will enhance student learning, faculty research and innovation, and a spirit of enterprise. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu.

About ConAgra Foods Foundation
The ConAgra Foods Foundation, through its Nourish Today, Flourish Tomorrow platform, is dedicated to raising awareness of the nearly 17 million children in America who are at risk of hunger and live in food insecure homes where they may not have enough food to live active, healthful lives. It aggressively pursues sustainable solutions in the fight against child hunger. The Foundation is committed to building a community of people who are passionate about ensuring that all kids have access to the food and facts they need to eat nutritiously while living balanced lifestyles and succeeding in school and life. ConAgra Foods Foundation invests in national and local partnerships with high-impact, not-for-profit organizations, such as Feeding America and Share Our Strength that take an innovative approach to addressing needs in the core areas of hunger and nutrition education. For more information, please visit www.ConagraFoods.com or www.facebook.com/ConAgraFoods. The ConAgra Foods Foundation is primarily funded by ConAgra Foods.