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Ending Child Hunger in Alabama (ECHA)

In September 2012, the Hunger Solutions Institute convened a task force of prominent public, non-profit and private sector Alabama leaders to create an implementable plan to significantly reduce child hunger, fight obesity, and improve nutrition in the state. The official campaign launch of ECHA will take place on April 8, 2013 with Alabama Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey, campaign spokesperson, issuing the call to action.

The overarching objective of the campaign is to ensure that Alabama is among the top 25% of the least child food insecure states by 2020. Efforts to reduce child hunger and food insecurity and improve children’s health and well-being will be strengthened by:

1) the creation of dynamic public-private partnerships;
2) identification of existing assets that can be linked through cross-organizational collaborations;
3) determination of incremental benchmarks that will lead to successful outcomes in both the near and long-terms; and
4) use of federal funds that are at no cost to the state.

The following five goals and related strategies are at the core of the Ending Child Hunger in Alabama campaign:

Increase Alabama families’ economic stability
– Promote savings and asset building for individuals and families
– Ensure availability and access to jobs that support self-sufficiency
– Strengthen programs that offset living expenses for low- and fixed-income Alabamians

Cultivate a strong regional food system
– Ensure all Alabamians can access healthy, affordable food in their communities
– Strengthen Alabama’s ability to produce, process, and distribute food in ways that help feed and employ Alabamians

Improve the food assistance safety net for Alabama’s children
– Ensure Alabama families can access food assistance when they need it
– Improve outreach and delivery of food assistance and availability programs
– Expand healthy food options and nutrition education throughout food assistance and availability programs
– Streamline and increase capacity of child nutrition programs to provide year-round access both in and out of school settings

Support community action to increase children’s health and prevent obesity
– Intentionally connect food security and obesity
– Facilitate community investment in healthy, livable communities
– Build social capital to positively impact children’s well-being

Build public will to end childhood hunger
– Make child hunger a priority on the public agenda
– Build partnerships to leverage community resources
– Lead efforts to establish a common set of outcomes to measure the impact of this work