2005 HATCH alum Jeff Bridges is an Academy Award®-winning actor, a musician, a photographer and a philanthropist. For the last 30 years, he has also been a leading anti-hunger activist and advocate for children.
According to the national organization Feeding America, “15.8 million children under 18 in the United States live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life.” 15.8 million is a daunting number – representing an almost overwhelming problem. Being overwhelmed threatens to prevent us from taking meaningful action. Fortunately for all of the families struggling to make ends meet in this country, and the kids who aren’t getting they need to fuel their bodies and brains, creative minds like Jeff Bridges’ are willing to engage on a deeper level.
Bridges has become the national spokesperson for the No Kid Hungry campaign, helping the organization Share Our Strength to start and improve school breakfast programs, to teach families how to shop for and prepare healthy meals on a budget, and to providee grants to the most innovative hunger-fighting organizations across the country so that they can purchase food and supplies. In March of 2014, Bridges met with a number of governors to discuss childhood hunger in their states and “to give them solid examples of steps to take to implement the innovative [No Kid Hungry] program.” Weeks later, he sat down for breakfast with Governor Steve Bullock and a class of third-graders in Darby, Montana to see how the school chef “found an innovative way to utilize her federal reimbursement dollars for school breakfast by purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables herself and folding them into the nutritional guideline meals.” That was certainly a day 50+ eight and nine year-olds from rural Montana will never forget; a day that undoubtedly made an impact on their lives. Nationally, the No Kid Hungry program is helping thousands of young students start their school day with a nutritious meal that improves their academic performance and creative thinking (the kind of thinking that will move us collectively forward).
HATCH exists as the bridge for creative & innovative thinkers to connect the daunting challenges of our generation with powerful solutions implemented through a global network of connections and strong relationships. While HATCHers certainly have day jobs – and being one of our generation’s most successful actors is certainly a demanding day job – we all have the power to effect positive change in our communities (and the global community). Let’s all continue to take the lead from HATCH alumni like Jeff Bridges using innovative thinking, connections, and compassion to improve our collective experience.