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17 Wins in the Fight Against Hunger in 2016

January 6, 2017  • 

At Yum-o!, we work hard every day to get more kids and their families cooking in the kitchen, help fight the battle against hunger, and help more public school students have an opportunity toward education in the restaurant and foodservice industry.

Sometimes we have major wins, where millions of pounds of food are saved, or thousands of dollars are given away. Sometimes our wins are small – just seeing an Instagram photo of a family making dinner together is more than we could ask for. No matter how big or small these steps are, they all matter.

To you, our wonderful friends, supporters and partners, we say “thank you” for all the wins you’ve helped us reach this year. Big, small, local, national, each is important. Each helps shape the lives of our friends, families, and neighbors around us, and we’re proud to be part of a community doing so much good.

To say thanks for a wonderful 2016, we’re highlighting 17 amazing accomplishments, and we promise to work even harder in 2017!


1. On Dec. 30, Rach and Yum-o! contributed to the “Childhood Wellness” campaign. Through USA Today, this publication reached an estimated 11 million readers – a nice way to close out 2016!

2. Yum-o! was honored to join First Lady Michelle Obama, PBS flagship station WGBH Boston, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to host the fifth annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. More than 1,200 kids from all U.S. states, five territories, and the District of Columbia entered their healthy, local, delicious and affordable lunch recipes for a chance to attend the 2016 White House Kids’ “State” Dinner. First Lady Michelle Obama even joined Rach on the cover of her magazine!

3. Rach attended the White House Kids’ “State” Dinner in July and got to try some of the 56 winning dishes from kids who are setting out to change their communities and the way they eat and move. Check out this clip from her daytime show, and even more videos here! You can also download the official cookbook from the event for free!

4. Yum-o!’s Co-Founder and Director, Andrew “Kappy” Kaplan, attended the Let’s Move! Capstone Event in the White House Kitchen Garden where First Lady Michelle Obama delivered remarks on the impact and progress that has been achieved, as well as the work still to be done, through lasting policies, programs, and public-private partnerships over the last seven years through her Let’s Move! initiative.

Always inspiring to hear her speak. Exciting day in the @whkitchengarden for the capstone #LetsMove event.   A photo posted by Andrew Kaplan (@onkappysplate) on

5. Rach worked with the incredible team at to create a petition asking NYC Mayor de Blasio to keep his commitment and provide nutritious free school lunches to all NYC public school students, regardless of income. While the mayor did not pass this, Rach’s voice was heard loud and clear – over 36,000 people signed the petition in a very short amount of time. Our work is not always easy and not always victorious, but we don’t stop. This work is not done.

6. When Rach and Yum-o! became involved with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, its Healthy Schools Program had 285 schools; today, the program supports over 20 million students in over 35,000 schools. We have supported them for nine years, featuring their work across the Yum-o! website and on social media. Rach and Yum-o! also sent out an email to the Alliance database on Giving Tuesday reaching 15,000 fans and donors. We will continue to create healthy recipes for school cafeterias and for families.

7. In July, Yum-o!’s partner, FoodCorps, wrapped up its fifth year of programming with 205 corps members serving in more than 600 high-need schools across 17 states and Washington, D.C.

Collectively, their service corps reached 177,189 students, built 828 gardens, and engaged 8,079 volunteers.

8. Rach and Yum-o! showed their support of FoodCorps by sending out a series of letters to service members across the country thanking them and their 200+ fellow service members for their service and dedication.

9. Rachael also delivered a video message, generating tons of energy and excitement, talking about the aligned work of Yum-o! and FoodCorps at their Mid-Year Gathering in early 2016.


Highlights from our work with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry:

10. This past year, for the second year in a row, Yum-o! helped fund breakfast programs in two of Share Our Strength’s proof of concept states (Arkansas and Maryland). The work done will be showcased and available in its Center for Best Practices.

11. In 2016, Yum-o! contributed to helping No Kid Hungry reach their two-year goal of adding one million more kids to the national school breakfast program. The simple act of changing the time when breakfast is served can mean all the difference for a hungry kid. With SOS’ help – from simple things like grants for a new refrigerator to in-depth technical support to show how the program can work – schools are able to serve breakfast during the school day to every kid who needs it.


Photo courtesy of The Rachael Ray Show.

12. Since the No Kid Hungry Maryland campaign started, SOS has connected over 94,000 kids with school breakfasts across the state. After five years of hard work, Baltimore City Public Schools have committed to making breakfast a part of the school day for all of the district’s 85,000 students this coming school year. In a school system with so many students living in poverty, this change will reap enormous benefits for kids in terms of learning and health.

13. Last year in Arkansas, over 150,000 kids ate school breakfast. When school was out, kids in need ate 24 million summer meals. SOS is already working to close the gap on childhood hunger in the state this year, especially in small and remote rural communities where kids need our help the most.

From our work with Feeding America:

14. Yum-o!’s support sustained the position of a produce sourcer for the state of North Carolina. She started the position in month five of their FY16. In her first eight months of activity, she sourced 4,342,266 pounds of produce, which was an increase of 1,148,797 pounds over the same period in the previous year.

In the first three months FY17, the same sourcer has allocated 2,557,560 pounds of produce and has already achieved 64 percent of her annual goal of four million pounds.

15. Yum-o!’s donation for school pantries was distributed in member grants to five food banks in Indiana, Minnesota, Virginia, and West Virginia. These food banks set up, sustained, or expanded 10 school pantries.

16. Because of Rachael and Yum-o!’s commitment to Feeding America and interests in reducing food waste, Yum-o! placed an editorial in a USA Today insert for their September campaign, “Feeding Our Nation,.”


17. Through our partnership with the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF), we have awarded more than 111 scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $15,000, with at least 10 more planned for 2017.

Thank you again for a wonderful 2016!