JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Aug. 30, 2017 This September Feeding Northeast Florida, together with the Feeding America nationwide network of food banks, will mobilize across all 50 states in an effort to bring an end to hunger. Hunger Action Month is designed to inspire people to take action and raise awareness of the fact that 42 million Americans, including 13 million children, are food insecure, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In Northeast Florida, more than 283,140 people struggle with hunger and may not know where they’ll find their next meal. That number includes one in four kids who may not have enough to eat.

September marks the tenth year the Feeding America network of food banks has organized this annual call to action and fourth year the Feeding Northeast Florida has participated in the Hunger Action Month movement. This year the campaign will focus on the strong connections between hunger and health.

The Hunger Action Month 2017 campaign asks people to consider how it must feel to live with an empty stomach, which puts a healthy life and a promising future at risk.

“Food is the most basic human need. Without it, adults can’t reach their full potential and young minds can’t learn, grow and thrive,” said Feeding Northeast Florida CEO Luke Layow. “More than 81,000 kids in Northeast Florida will go to bed hungry tonight. And so many hardworking families just aren’t making enough money to get by. Feeding Northeast Florida is leading the local fight to ensure all of our neighbors in need have access to high-quality food. We must come together as a community to raise awareness for this issue and provide a hand up to those who need it most.”

“I’ve spent many days on the road this past year, visiting food banks,nd meal programs and meeting people who are facing hunger,” said Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America. “I’ve seen firsthand the anguish that food insecurity and hunger can cause. It is always heartbreaking to meet a mother or father who fears that they will not be able to feed their children. They know that their children cannot reach their full potential if they don’t have enough to eat.”

Hunger Action Day®, the second Thursday in September, is a day where efforts across the country are focused for greater impact. This year on Sept. 14, Feeding Northeast Florida asks supporters to share what they couldn’t do without adequate nutrition by writing on an empty plate, “On an empty stomach I can’t ______,” and filling in the blank with something they couldn’t achieve without the nutrition we need to thrive. These photos can be posted to social media with #HungerActionMonth, @FeedingNEFL and @FeedingAmerica to join the conversation.

Stay tuned for more information on how Feeding Northeast Florida will engage the community on that day.

To learn more about Feeding Northeast Florida and other ways you can get involved for Hunger Action Month in and around Jacksonville, please visit feedingnefl.org or HungerActionMonth.org.