Charity’s campaign allows donors, volunteers to fight hunger

Feeding America allows people to help within their local communities

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Everyone’s feeling the economic pinch these days. A dollar doesn’t seem to go as far as it used to. One dollar will buy a can of soda, a downloadable song or about two and a half stamps.

It could also provide 16 meals for families in need in your community.

“With the economic downturn, 2008 has been an especially difficult year for many households who cannot make ends meet and are forced to seek assistance from their local food banks,” said Vicki Escarra, president and chief executive officer of Feeding America.

That’s why Feeding America (formerly named America’s Second Harvest) is encouraging everyone to “Fill a Bowl, Feed America,” in a campaign that kicked off in November and continues this month. Symbolized by the Feeding America bowl, the campaign is designed to raise awareness and funds for the domestic hunger cause.

“Our network is experiencing a 15 to 20 percent increase in demand for assistance this year,” Escarra said. “Some of our food banks have reported much higher increases in requests for emergency food. A large-scale nationwide call to action is imperative right now as so many families (are) on the very brink of hunger.”

By visiting, you can make a donation that will help provide food to the one in eight Americans who struggle with hunger. The site will show how your donations are making a difference with an ongoing, symbolic count of filled bowls feeding those in need. Donations from individuals, corporations and local food banks that have joined this campaign will be recognized on the site, as well.

Donations will support Feeding America’s nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, which provides food to more than 60,000 charitable feeding agencies and serves 25 million people in need in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The funds provided to Feeding America will help acquire food and move it to the places and people that need it most.

The lead corporate sponsor of the Fill campaign is Kraft Foods. America’s leading food company is making a grant to Feeding America and each public donation is matched $1 for $1 up to a total of $200,000.

At the Feeding America Web site, visitors can also directly support people in need who live in their community: You can find your local Feeding America food bank, learn more about the problem of hunger in your town, and take action by donating funds or volunteering.