A national organization dedicated to fighting childhood hunger — Share Our Strength — will be launching a campaign in Santa Barbara County at the instigation of Santa Barbara resident and actor Jeff Bridges. Bridges, the national spokesperson for the organization’s national “No Kid Hungry” program, reportedly expressed keen interest that there be a Santa Barbara component.
In the always competitive world of area nonprofits, the presence of an outside entity joining the fray generated some concern and skepticism among organizations already dealing with hunger issues. To address those feelings, Mayor Helene Schneider was asked to convene a stakeholders meeting at City Hall. Serving as facilitator of that confab was Laura Burton Capps — daughter of Congressmember Lois Capps — about whom rumors of congressional aspirations have swirled.
Nationally, Share Our Strength (SOS) has focused on maximizing federal funds set aside to battle youth hunger. According to one SOS speaker, only 60 percent of the students eligible for free school lunches and only 17 percent of students eligible for free school breakfasts take advantage of these programs. School-district officials responded that the paperwork requirements to secure these funds was so onerous that only a “Buddhist monk” could hope to fill out the forms satisfactorily.