“THE DUDE” PROVIDES MORE THAN HIS SUPERSTAR STATUS TO SANTA BARBARA
Jeff Bridges brings more to the Santa Barbara community than his superstar status. A longtime resident of Montecito, the Academy Award winner is also the national spokesperson for the No Kid Hungry program and an advocate for the free lunch program in Santa Barbara. He brought his child advocate heart to a local park last week to raise awareness for the program.
“It’s not a matter of not having enough food or enough money, or knowing how,” Bridges said, referring to his 30 years working to alleviate childhood hunger. “It’s a that we’re lacking the political will.”
For years, the Foodbank Santa Barbara has teamed up with the Santa Barbara School District to offer kids breakfast and lunch during the summer. Fewer kids have been taking advantage of the program this year following President Trump’s threats of ICE raids. That was not acceptable to Bridges. He could easily sit back and mediate about the good life but prefers to use his status to make the world, and the community of Santa Barbara a better place -- one child at a time.
The hungry children of Santa Barbara have 30 locations where they can eat including parks and housing complexes countrywide. Personal documentation of their identity or immigration status is not required to take advantage of the program.
Founded in 1982, the local non-profit organization has maintained its mission to “provide nourishment to those in need by acquiring and distributing safe nutritious foods via local agencies and providing education and disaster preparedness initiatives to empower Santa Barbara County.”
No Child Should Go Hungry
The nationwide No Kid Hungry program honors a similar mandate. If it sounds simple, that's because it is. Simple doesn’t mean ending childhood hunger is easy. The non-profit knows what works and has made extraordinary progress for kids and families across the United States.
More than 12-million children in the U.S. live in households that don't have enough food for every family member to lead a healthy life. Bridges and other advocates believe there is no possible excuse for children to go hungry in this country. Yet it happens -- every day, in every community, including right here in Santa Barbara. The problem is not enough hungry children are able to access them. Residents like Jeff Bridges are dedicated to changing that.
As a child hunger organization, ending childhood hunger is the organization’s primary focus. No Kids Hungry offers several child hunger relief programs that work:
- Summer Meals
As Jeff Bridges knows, summer is the hungriest time of year for kids who rely on school meals. That’s why the free summer meal program is so important. These children can get healthy meals at local schools and community centers, including right here in Santa Barbara. No Kid Hungry helps local organizations launch and operate these sites, and it also helps fund needed equipment like mobile meals trucks. They make it possible for schools and community groups to run summer meals sites where kids can eat breakfast and lunch for free.
- School Breakfast Program
The School Breakfast Program makes it possible for millions of kids in America to eat a healthy breakfast. That means they don’t have to face the school day on an empty stomach just because there isn't enough food at home. This is especially important since parents and teachers know that hungry kids can't learn. The key to this program’s success is to make breakfast part of the regular school day, just like lunch.
- After School Meal Program
For some kids, lunch at school may be the last meal of their day. With 59% of parents admitting they can’t afford food for their kids to eat after school and 25% reporting they are worried their kids didn’t have enough to eat between lunch at school and breakfast the next day, the need for afterschool meals is clear. Afterschool meals are the fastest-growing meals programs in the country, and No Kid Hungry is helping schools get the resources they need to feed more kids.
- Family Nutrition Educational Program
Though schools and community programs are often the best way to reach older children, to help the youngest kids, the organization decided to help the entire family, including parents. Through the family nutrition education program, parents and caregivers can learn how to shop and cook healthy, affordable meals. Toward that goal, the nonprofit offers interactive grocery store tours, hands-on cooking classes, smartphone apps, and other resources – all free, and all run through trusted local community programs like our Foodbank Santa Barbara.
Share Our Strength
No Kid Hungry is a national campaign run by Share Our Strength, a nonprofit working to solve problems of hunger and poverty in the U.S. and around the world. After 25 years of successfully investing in local nonprofits and helping find the best approaches to eradicating poverty and hunger, Share Our Strength launched No Kid Hungry in 2010.
You can help Jeff Bridges get the word out so no Santa Barbara kids go hungry. Join the national movement of people committed to ending childhood hunger in America and receive No Kid Hungry email updates from Share Our Strength. You can also donate funds or your time to this worthy organization. Other ways to support include attending a fundraising event or dine at one of the many restaurants that support the organization’s work across the country.
It’s wonderful to live in an area with people like Jeff Bridges who are not only talking the talk but also walking the walk when it comes to ending child hunger. That’s just another reason (and a very important one!) to live in Santa Barbara. If you’re considering buying or selling a home here, call Cristal Clarke at +1 (805) 886-9378 or email her at Cristal@montecito-estate.com.