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Community Food Banks Of South Dakota, Boys & Girls Clubs Of The Grand River And ConAgra Foods Fight Child Hunger In South Dakota


The Community Food Banks of South Dakota, in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Grand River, ConAgra Foods Feeding Children Better Foundation, and America’s Second Harvest – The Nation’s Food Bank Network, are celebrating the grand opening of the second ConAgra Foods Kids Cafe in South Dakota.

With more than 1,600 separate locations, Kids Cafe is one of the country’s largest free meal service programs for children at risk of hunger. ConAgra Foods is the national sponsor of Kids Cafe, a program of America’s Second Harvest.

“This partnership between the Boys & Girls Clubs, ConAgra Foods and America’s Second Harvest will enable us to provide more meals to more children,” said Matt Gassen, executive director of the Community Food Banks of South Dakota. “This collaborative effort gives parents and caregivers an additional way to ensure that their children receive hot and nutritious meals.”

Hunger Impacts Children in South Dakota More than 42 percent of the children in Corson County live below the poverty level. The new Kids Cafe at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Grand River – McLaughlin Unit will provide meals five days a week to approximately 40 children each day. “We are committed to enrich the lives of our children. This grant enables us to provide nutritious meals in an environment that offers opportunities for children to learn life skills in a safe haven,” said Marcella Yellow Hammer, director of the Boys & Girls Club of Grand River. According to the U.S.D.A. report Household Food Security in the United States, 2004, the number of people living in food-insecure households nationally increased to more than 38 million from 36.25 million in 2003, and the number of children living in food-insecure households rose from 13.3 million to nearly 14 million.

Research Shows Kids Cafes Are Effective Research conducted by the Center on Hunger and Poverty at Brandeis University shows that Kids Cafe programs act as an important support system for families while directly addressing child hunger by providing free meals. Children who participate in Kids Cafe reported earning better grades in school, having more energy, less fatigue and improved concentration.

Parents and caregivers reported seeing improvements in their children’s overall health and learning. They rely on the Kids Cafe program to ensure that their children will have a nutritious after-school meal.

“As the national sponsor, we have seen first hand how fostering the Kids Cafe program has benefited communities nationwide,” said Chris Kircher, president of the ConAgra Foods Feeding Children Better Foundation. “We urge the McLaughlin community to help us take action in the fight against child hunger so that every child receives the nutritious meal they deserve.”

Local residents interested in information on child hunger and hunger-relief efforts can log on to -- a resource created by the ConAgra Foods Feeding Children Better Foundation. For information about Community Food Banks of South Dakota, visit

Corporate Commitment is Key This new ConAgra Foods Kids Cafe highlights the company’s long-term commitment to its Feeding Children Better program. Since 1999, the Feeding Children Better Foundation has impacted child hunger through two primary initiatives:

1. Getting food to children who need it. As the national sponsor of Kids Cafe, the ConAgra Foods Feeding Children Better Foundation has provided startup funding for more than 250 new sites to date.
2. Improving food distribution. By donating new trucks and investing in technology and transportation programs, ConAgra Foods is helping to recapture millions of pounds of food that is currently lost or discarded. This ensures that America’s Second Harvest’s food banks and food-rescue organizations move food faster, farther and cheaper. ConAgra Foods has purchased 167 trucks to date across the country.


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