Posts Tagged ‘Share Our Strength’

Teach Your Children Well

Blog readers will be familiar with Billy Shore — a Timberland board member, author and the founder and executive director of Share our Strength, the nation’s leading organization working to end childhood hunger in America.  He’s also a father — and in a newly-released book, “If I Were Your Daddy, This Is What You’d Learn,” Billy is one of thirty-five dads who share the most important gifts they gave their children.

The book focuses on the inspirational and educational lessons today’s fathers are passing on to the next generation – contributing to the notion of “sustainable living” by developing children with the minds and hearts to value nature, to value other people, and to turn those values into actions.

Here’s an excerpt from what Billy Shore had to say about the values he feels are indispensable in teaching his three children:

People are so diverse. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and we all approach things so differently. That’s why tolerance is so important in life. When you criticize, you attack differences like a prizefighter in a corner of the ring. When you’re tolerant, you suspend judgment ….

Novelist Walker Percy once said that passing life’s lessons on to our children is like two prisoners pushing notes between cell blocks. You never know if you’re getting through, but you keep doing it anyway. Years [after one especially important lesson], I heard [my son] Zach counseling a friend, “So-and-so did this, but he’s had a hard life. You can never know the whole story.” It felt pretty good to know that some of those messages got through after all.

That’s sustainable living.

If you’re interested in raising children who have a heart for the world, If I Were Your Daddy tells you how many powerful dads have done it. As a Timberland fan, you can preview the book by downloading Billy Shore’s entire chapter for free at www.IfIWereYourDaddy.com/billy-shore.

What’s the single most important lesson you would — or do — try to teach your children?

The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men

Bill Shore is the founder and executive director of Share Our Strength, the nation’s leading organization working to end childhood hunger in America.  He’s also a valued member of Timberland’s board of directors.  In his spare time, he has written three books – the latest of which was published last month.


The book, entitled, “The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men,” chronicles the efforts of a group of scientists determined to find a vaccine for malaria — and in the process, examines the qualities, character and values inherent in individuals who commit themselves to creating positive change and addressing the world’s most critical problems, despite the odds, risks and challenges.

Much of Bill’s insights are universally relevant — and inspiring:

“As Dan Pallotta, founder of the ambitious and wildly successful AIDSRides, bicycle rides to raise funds for AIDS service organizations, once said to me:  ‘Don’t you suppose someone must have argued to Henry Ford:  ‘But that’s crazy — you’d have to build these gas station places all over the country and pave these incredibly long roads.’”  Great imaginations are almost always unreasonable, but they almost always triumph in the end.

Most of us won’t cure malaria or invent the next automobile.  So why are these elements of breakthrough thinking important in our own lives?  Can they apply to each of us?  They do if we believe that the organizations, communities, and world of which we are a part can do better.  They are important if we’re frustrated with the slow and incremental pace of social change, or if we wish to play some small role in lightening the suffering and struggles of those less fortunate with whom we share this planet.  They are the qualities that allow some people, gifted with great vision, to insist that, rather than taking the reasonable approach of adapting to the world, the world, in George Bernard Shaw’s words, must adapt itself to the unreasonable man.”

The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men, along with Bill’s other books, is available on Amazon.com.

40 Hours: What Footprint Would You Leave?

Every full-time Timberland employee is entrusted with 40 hours of paid time off (part-timers get 20) to serve in their communities and for organizations and causes that are important to them.  40 hours – that’s one full week, over the course of a year, in which they can invest their time and talent to whatever personal passions they have: coaching a soccer team, volunteering at a local animal shelter, organizing a fundraiser, stocking shelves at a food bank. No politics, no organized religious activities—otherwise, serve from your heart.

The program is called the Path of Service, and in the 18 years we’ve had it in place, my colleagues’ enthusiasm for the serving has inspired and astounded.  And the good we’ve accomplished in communities around the world has grown exponentially.

As the CEO, I’m proud of Path of Service—it stands proof that for-profit business can be a force for positive social change, that we can deliver the quarter’s financial result, and make a difference in the communities we live and work in.

Service is a corporate value, but a personal choice and effort.  As CEO, I need to ensure that our corporate investment in service serves our business strategies, explicitly and clearly.  So—planting trees, serving on Earth Day, urban green space clean ups—the CEO spends plenty of hours underscoring that environmental sustainability is a key element of Timberland’s business strategy.

But the nice thing about volunteer service is, even the CEO is accountable for his or her own path of service.  When I serve as Jeff the citizen—I can act on the passions that drive me, personally and individually.

As a blessed individual in this time and place, I can’t get my head around the reality of childhood hunger.  Just can’t.  And so for my personal 40 hours of citizen service, I am enrolled as a volunteer in the campaign to end childhood hunger in America by 2015.

End Childhood Hunger in America—end it.  Yeah—I know the numbers, nearly 50 million Americans lack the means to regularly put enough nutritious food on their tables – and of that number, nearly 17 million are children—but I have seen what Share Our Strength is doing, state by state, to change this reality, and I know that this campaign can and will succeed.  If you are interested, look at this link—nokidhungry.org.  Ending childhood hunger is not a dream, it is a concrete and deliverable reality, and as citizen, this is where I’m investing my personal and passion.

I am grateful beyond words that I have 40 hours to feed my soul, and to dedicate to feeding hungry kids in America.  Imagine if every business leader in corporate America had 40 hours to fight for his or her passion.  I wonder–if you had 40 hours, what footprint would you leave?

Share Your Strength for Childhood Hunger

Earthkeeping means caring for our planet … but it also means caring for the people who share it with us.  And leading the pack when it comes to caring for America’s children and their struggle with hunger is Bill Shore, Timberland board member and the founder and executive director of Share our Strength.

Billy was interviewed yesterday on NPR’s program Talk of the Nation, as part of the program’s coverage of the issue of childhood hunger – a critical issue impacting millions of children in the United States, and one President Obama has pledged to end by 2015.  You can listen to the entire program here:


How to help?

  • Support your local food bank in their efforts to get nutritious food to the families in your community that need it.  (Timberland’s front-lawn “Victory Garden” produce is sold to our employees and proceeds go to the NH Food Bank … employees love the fresh veggies and the food bank appreciates the support!)
  • Email your Senators and Representative in support of the Child Nutrition Bill, critical legislation that will further the efforts to end childhood hunger in America.

Letter From a Quiet Workshop in Haiti

Following his first post-earthquake trip to Haiti in January, Billy Shore (Timberland board member and founder and executive director of Share Our Strength) shared his experiences and observations with us here on the Earthkeeper blog.  We’re honored to share the following update from Billy on the heels of this week’s journey back to Haiti:

We returned to Haiti this week, on the three month anniversary of the earthquake, to try to keep some of the promises implicit in our first visit. Once again, Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz made it possible for us to bring a delegation that met with everyone from the Minister of Health to the World Food Program. There’s more to tell than will fit here. Not all of it is hopeful.  But one moment was and I wish you’d have been there to see it.

At a crowded intersection in downtown Port au Prince stands a building not damaged by the earthquake. On the wall is a painted sign that says Handicap International. In front of the building the chaos of the capital plays out as cars race by and people swarm through the streets while others stand waiting for the packed minivan buses known as tap-taps.  Inside the building it is also crowded but very, very quiet.

The first two rooms on the ground floor are unlit and dusty, with work tables and machines and electric cords snaking across the floor. A few lanterns are hung from the ceiling. This is one of only two workshops in Port of Prince responsible for making prosthetic limbs for the several thousand new amputees recovering from the trauma sustained when crushed by falling buildings.  A dozen artificial limbs in various states of construction are leaning against a wall, as if dancers on prom night taking a rest. Technicians at lathes stare at blueprints and specifications to make sure the next limb will fit the next body.

We are being led through the building by Antoinne Engrande, a 35 year old from France who came here after spending two years working with victims of mines in Sierra Leone, and before that Iraq and before that the Mideast.  There is not much he hasn’t seen, but he says this is the worst.  The waiting list for limbs numbers more than one hundred some three months since the quake.

In the back is a sunlit open courtyard with benches that line the perimeter. There sit at least a dozen Haitians: men, women, boys and girls who have lost one or both legs in the earthquake.   Some have family members with them who seem to hang back as if realizing that they will never truly understand that one their love one is going through.
An elderly woman in a green dress is being coaxed forward to take her first steps on her temporary prosthetic device. A somewhat angry young man in his early thirties is sitting and waiting for a technician. A beautiful dark haired girl of thirteen or fourteen sits in a clean red dress sits with her eyes cast down toward the ground as she gently rubs the jagged scar at the stump of her right leg.  A young boy of about eight is in a chair and having the stump of his leg eased into the soft socket of the artificial limb.  He is wearing a Star Wars t-shirt whose bold logo suggests that anything is possible though it is far from clear that he can lay claim to such optimism. I don’t know his name but let’s call him Skywalker.  Another dozen amputees sit in chairs waiting and staring into the distance.

Gripping a set of parallel bars a middle aged woman who lost her leg almost to her hip is trying to bear weight on her new device.  Success will be partly a challenge of technology but mostly a matter of trust.

Even before the earthquake Haiti had almost no capacity to handle rehabilitation after amputation. The technicians and therapists working with the patients are volunteers brought in from El Salvador which is home to a prominent prosthetic training school. They speak neither French nor Creole spoken throughout Haiti. Their patients are having the most important conversations of their lives through pantomime and hand signals. But what they lack in language they make up in tenderness.  One young woman whispers something soothing to the girl whose face seems more stricken than her injured body. A volunteer from Australia gently taps Skywalker’s stump to probe for and be able to protect the areas where he will feel the most discomfort.

I’ve come to visit with former Senator Bob Kerrey who lost his right leg in Vietnam and has been active ever since in helping build prosthetic clinics in places that have none.  He is talking to the young man in his thirties and it is not clear that he is getting through to him. I see Bob do something I’ve only seen him do once in the 26 years we’ve been friends. He pulls up the cuff of his right pant leg and shows the man that he too has a prosthetic limb.  It’s not clear whether the gesture has its intended impact but across the room, the young girl who has been sitting sadly sees this out of the corner of her eye and becomes suddenly animated. Her hand shoots out, flutters and grasps to grab the attention of the therapist with whom she cannot speak. She points toward Bob, insists that the therapist look to, and for the first time that day her face breaks out in a huge grin.

Meanwhile eight year old Skywalker is now being lifted up to take his first step since he was injured months ago. He is trying to be brave but he winces a bit with the pain of using new muscles. No less than four technicians are kneeling around him, one helping him balance, another assessing his step, another whispering encouragement. He tries again and his eyes fill with tears. There is bravery and determination in this action that most of us take for granted. My memory flashes back to Neil Armstrong taking that first tentative step on the moon. I think about what a powerful a moment that was, and how it was nothing compared to this.

I’ll write again soon to tell you more about the conditions here and the progress we are making. Some problems, like those here in Haiti, are so complex that they almost defy response.  They leave us feeling almost helpless with options that are not governmental but personal, not strategic but instinctual.  They reinforce the often underestimated value of just a little tenderness.   More than anything they remind us that of all the challenges that still lie ahead, sometimes the greatest courage of all lies in taking that one first step.

Billy

Headed Back to Haiti

Early next week, Timberland President and CEO Jeff Swartz will return to Haiti for the second time since January’s earthquake. Jeff will travel with a powerful team of individuals representing a variety of industries and specialties, united in their desire to contribute to supporting Haiti and its people – both today, and looking into the future.

Among those joining Jeff next week:

Bill Shore, founder of Share Our Strength
Cat Cora, founder of Chefs for Humanity
Stephanie Dodson, co-founder and director of Strategic Grant Partners
Former Nebraska Governor and Senator Bob Kerrey
Winifred Danke, executive director of the Prosthetic Outreach Foundation

Hunger, prosthetics and economic development are three very different but very real needs that have emerged in Haiti in the wake of the earthquake, and the team traveling to Haiti next week will work to assess those needs and help create actionable, sustainable solutions to each. Specifically, they’ll be meeting with NGOs and Haitian government officials providing prosthetics and rehabilitation for injured Haitians, visit schools with the World Food Program and hospitals where Partners in Health are working, and see first hand the progress being made through agricultural initiatives being implemented by our partner Yele Haiti and Chefs for Humanity.

Stay tuned for an update from Jeff next week after his return; until then, please join us in thanking this group for their commitment to creating a positive impact for Haiti and its people.

Bearing Witness to Haiti

The following is an email sent by Timberland President and CEO Jeff Swartz to Timberland employees worldwide, chronicling his recent trip to Haiti.  We’re sharing it here on Earthkeepers because we believe it stands up to its name — “bearing witness” — as a powerful account of destruction and survival in Haiti … and provides perspective for the important work that lies ahead as the nation rebuilds.

Team Timberland,

So, what’s so hard about this note, which I have intended to write for a week?  Last week, I visited Haiti, in the company of Bill Shore , the founder and executive director of Share Our Strength, and a Timberland Board member, and chair of the Board’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, and in the company of Wyclef Jean , a 12 time Grammy award winner, a Haitian musician and activist, Timberland’s partner in an effort to plant trees and reforest Haiti, as part of our global Earthkeeper efforts.  The visit was in response to the earthquake that struck Haiti 3 weeks ago; our visit was an attempt to focus Timberland’s Earthkeeper resources temporarily on disaster relief.  The trip was emotional and powerful; I left Saturday night and was back in the office Tuesday.

So, what’s so hard about a brief note that describes the heroism of the many doctors we saw, the heartbreak of the destruction we saw, the inspiration I felt with Bill and Wyclef, and the indignation I felt at the world’s well intended but inept efforts to cope with this disaster?

Maybe it is the scale of the disaster, in the context of a country already ravaged by history.   Maybe it is the raw, emotional experience of being amidst death and destruction, and in the presence of the dying.  Maybe it is the feeling  of futility, the ultimate experience of the City Year “Starfish” story , that  waited for me at each stop we made in Haiti—yes, we made a difference here,  but wow, we did not even scratch the surface of the pain and agony here…

For all these reasons and more, I have not done my job by you; I have not been able to bear witness to you from Haiti. So, below, I have tried to right that wrong.  Call this note, “bearing witness”–but “bear with me” also works–it is a very long note. Long for the reasons I cite above, and long because it is hard even now for me to say simply why a bootmaker flew to Hell and how the experience of that Hell affirmed my belief in the mission of commerce and justice. So, here goes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Imagining a New Way Forward

Last week , Billy Shore provided a poignant account of his trip to Haiti with Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz and Earthkeeper Wyclef Jean , among others.  Below, Jeff Swartz shares his own thoughts on the devastation in Haiti, how it redefined Timberland’s partnership with our partner Yéle Haiti … and how innovation is built from crisis.

Please note this is excerpted from a piece which appears on Fast Company today.  Please click here to read the entire entry, and our thanks to the Fast Company team for sharing.

After the earthquake

We reached out, and Wyclef moved from celebrity entertainer to Haitian leader—from rapping out lyrics, to rapping out directions.  He told us from the ground, aid is pouring in, and stalling at the airport. Not a question of good instincts, good intentions, pure hearts—but the issue is not about intention, it’s about execution.  Get the food, get the water, get the medical supplies to the people—period.  And Wyclef was hard but clear: we are a for-profit company, with superb logistic competences, and with a factory for over 20 years in Santiago, in the Dominican Republic— just 100 miles from Port au Prince. He told us to urgently mobilize the trucks, open the warehouse, and get material flowing. Yéle will get the food packed—Timberland has to get it delivered.  And then Yéle will do its magic—mobilizing young Haitians, in neighborhoods like Bel Air and Cité Soleil, to distribute food to the hungry, hope to the powerful souls living in the open after the quake.  Do what you do well—do what a great bootmaker does—work your logistics network, and partner with the right entrepreneurial partner, and together—we can deliver good.

And so we did—we mobilized our logistics team in the DR, and went to work.  And while we are not Federal Express or UPS—we grunted and we got shipments moving over land.

And then Wyclef said—get on the plane and come here, and see the model for building a new Haiti.  A model that is one part the private sector, one part the authentic and effective NGO, and nine parts the spirit of free Haiti.  See Timberland plus Yéle plus the young of Haiti work in a specific, focused way to be part of creating a new Haiti.

So I went. They say journeys are more about who you travel with, and less about the itinerary. On this voyage, I had the company and counsel of heroes —like Bill Shore (the founder and CEO of Share Our Strength, Timberland board member and teacher of mine), and a team from Partners in Health who needed a ride to this island in desperate need of medical miracles. We made our way to Port au Prince. And in the searing humidity, we served 8,000 hot meals that Yéle had found a way to cook.  We served from the back of a truck, in Cité Soleil. We sweated, and cried, and we saw the outlines of a way forward.  One part private sector competence and passion, one part on-the-ground entrepreneurial NGO brilliance, and 9 parts Haitian strength and dignity and grace and energy.  And when we wheeled out of Cité Soleil, while my heart will never be the same, neither will my head.

Spending two days in post-earthquake Haiti does not make me akin to its survivors — but it was time enough for me to develop a new understanding of crisis and devastation and reaffirmed for me, a third-generation entrepreneur, that out of crisis flows innovation.  Before the earthquake, I was the CEO of a for-profit company with strength to share and a passion for commerce and justice.  Planting trees in Haiti felt like, looked like, the right thing to do.  It still is.  Only now, post-quake, I’m a CEO with strength and passion who has witnessed both frustration and amazingly, hope in both a ravaged land and its survivors.  Tomorrow we’ll plant trees … today we’re growing a logistical network from Santiago to Cité Soleil.  Tomorrow we’ll revisit our marketing plans — today we’re leveraging our strategy skills to figure out how to get more food into the hands of the hungry.  Trees, yes, community building, yes — a solid vision for the future is as critical to Haiti’s survival as anything right now.  But before the re-growth, a nation needs to heal, and before it can heal, it needs help.

Jeff Swartz
President & CEO, Timberland

Letter from Haiti

This past weekend, Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz traveled to Haiti via the Dominican Republic along with Haiti’s own Earthkeeper Wyclef Jean and Bill Shore , Timberland board member and founder and executive director of Share Our Strength.  Billy shared the following reflections with his Share Our Strength community upon his return, and was kind enough to also share it with us:

“The most dangerous place in the world right now is the sky over Haiti. It is filled with so many helicopters in a very small space. One has already crashed” warned the airport official briefing our pilot.

The Blackhawk we were supposed to fly to Port au Prince from the Dominican Republic had been cancelled at the last minute but I didn’t mind because the only word I’ve ever associated with the word Blackhawk is the word “down.”  Instead we flew a smaller chopper, low enough to get a taste of the destruction and suffering we were soon to meet face to face.

We’d flown to the Dominican Republic thanks to the generosity of Timberland which lent its plane to shuttle Partners in Health doctors and supplies. We made good use of our layover though.  Haiti’s favorite son, Wyclef Jean, a 12 time Grammy winner who led our delegation had obtained a meeting at the presidential palace in Santo Domingo with President Leonel Fernandez . The earthquake has led to an unprecedented level of cooperation between the two countries. We pressed for even more and he assured us that “stepping back from long term investment in Haiti is unacceptable.”

Afterward, from the air we could see an endless stream of supply trucks slowly making their way to Haiti on the narrow land route that hugs the coast.  Landing in Port au Prince we were met by security and military officials. One told me: “I’ve been to Rwanda, Kosovo, Indonesia, you name it. But this is different. Nothing prepares you for something like this.”

You’ve seen the pictures, more unforgettable than words. Mountains of collapsed rubble stretch mile after mile. We saw only two bulldozers during our entire visit.  The clean up alone will be years, not months.
With Wyclef we went to Cite de Soleil, one of the poorest areas of Port au Prince. We were there to distribute food from a truck stuffed top to bottom with Styrofoam containers of cooked meals. The combination of Wyclef and the food led to an almost instant crush of thousands of Haitian children and their parents for as far as the eye could see.

In our work I’ve often seen the gratitude that comes from families receiving meals.  What I’d never seen before was the panic on the faces of so many people who knew better than I did that the food would run out before we’d served even a fraction of those who’d had nothing but an energy biscuit or power bar in the ten days since the quake struck.

The crowd became larger and surged forward.  A few fights broke out, but there was no real violence, just hunger in the starkest and truest sense. At one point the crowd broke through a formidable team of private security and we were pinned against the truck. Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz and I locked eyes in realization of the fragility of a moment that could go either way. Wyclef grabbed a bullhorn and tried to calm the crowd but even his celebrity was no match for their desperation.  The only option was for the truck, almost empty, to speed away, to another neighborhood, where after restocking we began again.

Before I got to Haiti, Share Our Strength had distributed $145,000 to the most effective organizations on the ground here. More has come in since. I like to think we excel at long term solutions, entrepreneurship, and bold thinking.  The time will soon come when such competencies are invaluable. But none of that was worth a pile of concrete rubble in Port au Prince this week. What was required instead was Mother Teresa’s prescription of hands willing to serve and hearts willing to love, which your generosity has enabled us to support.

Now the real test of commitment begins.  I could have lived with myself if we’d chosen not to make this trip, but having made it I won’t be able to live with not going back to continue what we’ve begun.  The airport official who conducted our helicopter briefing was wrong. The greatest danger is not the sky above Port Au Prince, or Cite de Soleil where there was no violence, only desperation.  The real danger is whether our hearts and heads have the capacity to continue to bear witness after the headlines fade and the benefit concerts end, and our lives once again refocus on the many needs even closer to home.

- Billy Shore

Thanksgiving

We’re thankful for the leadership, vision and commitment of Bill Shore — Timberland board member and founder and executive director of Share Our Strength , the nation’s leading organization endeavoring to end childhood hunger:

I’ve always been an early riser. One of the things I love most about Maine in summer is that the dawn breaks as early as 4:30 a.m.  I’m usually waiting at the window to catch it. My writing or whatever I’m working on brightens with the new day.  This weekend before Thanksgiving in late November I am still up early. But the wait for daybreak is much longer. It is nearly 6:30 before I get to feel anything other than alone in the darkness.  Finally, a thin line of light appears on the horizon.

This long wait for darkness to lift must be what millions of our fellow Americans feel, trapped by recession, many for the first time in their lives, without jobs and increasingly without food, waiting … waiting… for the dawn to break. Two reports released this month evoke the words of poet William Stafford that “the darkness around us is deep.”

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its annual report, which showed a record 49 million Americans in 2008 struggling with whether they would have enough to eat. The number of children who experienced the most severe hunger increased from 700,000 to more than 1 million.

And just this morning, Share Our Strength released a survey, prepared by Lake Research Partners showing that this year, 62% of public school teachers are seeing children who regularly come to school hungry because they don’t get enough to eat at home.  The problem is serious enough that 63% of teachers use funds from their own relatively low salaries to buy food for hungry kids in their classroom.

In the darkness it is easy to misdiagnose a problem. When one does, the prescription for treating it is likely to be wrong.  That often happens with hunger in America. Children in our country are not hungry because we lack food, or because we lack food and nutrition programs.  We are blessed with abundance of both, and for more than 25 years there has been bipartisan support for effective food programs like school lunch, school breakfast and food stamps.

Children in America who are hungry are hungry because they aren’t enrolled in these programs.  Even in a weak economy, that is a solvable problem. But it requires more than the federal expansion of food and nutrition programs (which we also support). It requires working at the state and local levels to close the gap in the number of children who are already eligible for such programs but not enrolled or participating.

Maybe families don’t know the programs exist. Maybe kids can’t get to them. Our work is sometimes as simple as staffing a hotline to connect children with summer feeding sites in their neighborhood, or as complicated as lobbying for universal breakfast in the classroom, which tackles the challenge of kids not getting to school early enough for free breakfast, and the stigma that often prevents them from participating.

The barriers that keep children from programs that can prevent hunger are varied – and our strategy is tackling every one – state by state. Tomorrow, I’ll be in Denver with Colorado Governor Ritter to announce the launch of just such an effort, much as we’ve done with Governor O’Malley in Maryland and will be doing with others around the U.S. Our strategy is working, our network is growing in size and influence and we’re more certain than ever that we can end childhood hunger by 2015, but we need your continued support .

As governors with shrinking state budgets find themselves cutting social programs they’d prefer to grow, Share Our Strength’s strategy offers a ray of hope by bringing badly needed and already authorized federal dollars into their states to help feed children. Given projections that unemployment will remain at 10% or above through 2010, that states will continue to struggle with budget crises, as will food banks with shortages, Share Our Strength’s state-based strategy is the fastest, most realistic way to ensure that children get fed.

During the holiday season’s predictable media coverage of food banks and families in need of emergency assistance, it is worth noting that the USDA reports that just one in five families enrolled in programs like food stamps and school meals has actually visited a food pantry.  Standing in a line at a food pantry in crisis is the last place a family should be. If instead, they are taking advantage of programs that stretch their food budget, teach them how to shop for and cook nutritious foods, and ensure that their children have free school and summer meals, they will never need to be there. This is the work that Share Our Strength is doing, and we need your continued support.

Please make the most generous gift possible this year, and help ensure that our work continues.

As I finish writing this, the sun has climbed high in the sky. I’m reminded that increasingly Share Our Strength’s role is to help bring light where there has been darkness, to educate hungry families and local government officials about untapped existing resources for feeding kids.

Thanks for all you are doing to help. Our early successes leave us confident of achieving our ambitious goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015.  Once we do, there will be at least one less reason for families to wait anxiously for the dawn.

- Billy Shore