Celebs Join Hands to Combat Hunger in the U.S.

Hunger-relief charity Feeding America and the Ad Council launched a new series of national public service advertisements (PSAs) Wednesday featuring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and other actors, designed to motivate Americans to get involved in the fight against hunger.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service reported earlier this week that more than 50 million Americans, including 17 million children, live in hunger.

[ Also Read: Now You Can Donate Your Suit to Help Jobless ] [ Also Read: American Idol Live Tour to Support Feeding America ]

The 2009 report on Household Food Insecurity in the United States illustrates how the issue of hunger is affecting the country.

Annual data released in September by the U.S. Census Bureau indicated that almost 43.6 million Americans (about one in every seven people) live in poverty, the highest number since record-keeping began in 1959. (Read: Over 43 Million Americans Now Live in Poverty)

Now the number of poor in America has increased. And recently the Oneida Indian Nation and HELP USA joined hands to ensure that no person should go hungry or without a home. (Read: Are You Fearing Job Loss and Home Loss?)

[ Also Read: Katharine McPhee for Hunger-Free Program ] [ Also Read: What Hollywood Stars Talk about Epilepsy ]

“The USDA report confirms what we already know—that domestic hunger is still on the rise,” remarked Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America.

“On behalf of our food banks who have been working tirelessly to feed people in need, we thank our Entertainment Council members, our numerous celebrity friends and the Ad Council for helping us bring national awareness to the growing problem of hunger.”

Created pro bono by Cutwater agency, the new television PSAs also feature Taye Diggs and Ana Ortiz, who portray the real stories of Americans affected by hunger.

The goal of the campaign is to increase the social consciousness of hunger in the U.S., while diminishing the stereotypes about those who are hungry in America.

The TV, print, outdoor and web PSAs direct audiences to visit feedingamerica.org for ways to help and to find their community’s food bank. A Spanish-language TV PSA is also available.

Beginning this week, an integrated social media program will extend the reach of the PSA campaign on popular social networking sites and blogs.

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The PSAs will be distributed to media outlets this week and will run and air in advertising time that is donated by the media.

These PSAs are part of the national Hunger Prevention campaign, which has received more than $68 million worth of donated media since its launch in November 2008. Additional media will be launched in early 2011.

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Rakesh Raman