HERSHEY, PA. — The Hershey Co. has launched Nourishing Minds, a new global social initiative that will provide children in the United States and abroad with the basic nutrition that is critical for them to learn and grow. Hershey has set a goal to nourish one million children by 2020.
“Since our founding, we focused on giving children the skills, education and support they need to succeed,” said J.P. Bilbrey, chairman, president and chief executive officer of The Hershey Co. “As our company continues to grow globally, we are continuing to focus on this same shared social purpose by expanding our efforts with the creativity, skills and passion of Hershey employees around the world. We still believe that bright futures start with basic nutrition, and our global social purpose is grounded in putting strategic action behind our belief.”
Through Nourishing Minds, Hershey said it plans to work with public and private partners to make an impact in three key areas: basic nutrition for children, agriculture and food systems, and research and development.
As part of the effort, Hershey in the United States will partner with Feeding America and its child nutrition programs, including The Backpack Program, which provides backpacks full of food for children in need to take home over the weekend, as well as the School Pantry and Kids Cafe programs. Hershey is supporting Feeding America member food banks in six cities across America this year, with plans to grow the partnership over time.
“Children should not have to worry about where they will find their next meal,” said Nancy Curby, vice-president of corporate partnerships at Feeding America. “Yet, one in five struggle with hunger in America. With Hershey’s support, we are able to provide more meals to children in need, which is critical to their growth and development.”
Hershey is marking the launch of the global commitment with several events in Ghana. The company is partnering with the Ghana School Feeding Programme and Project Peanut Butter for Energize Learning, the flagship Nourishing Minds program in West Africa. According to Hershey, the program’s goal is to improve nutrition for students, to increase school enrollment, attendance and retention, and to boost domestic food production. A cross-functional team of Hershey employees developed Vivi, a vitamin- and mineral-fortified nutritional supplement that will be distributed to 50,000 Ghanaian school children by 2016 through Energize Learning.
“In working with Hershey, we are now able to provide children in school with a locally produced, nutritious snack that helps give them the energy they need focus on their studies,” said Hon Seidu Paakuna Adamu, national coordinator of the Ghana School Feeding Programme. “Hershey is a valuable partner in helping us make sure that the children of Ghana reach their full potential.”
In late September, Hershey announced its Hershey’s Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action to promote sustainable nutrition in Ghana by improving peanut farming. As part of that program, Hershey will train 7,500 Ghanaian farmers on improved agronomic practices, empowering them to supply local commercial markets with safe and high-quality peanuts. By 2018, Hershey said it plans to source 100% local peanuts for the production of Vivi.
Hershey said it also is joining Partners in Food Solutions, a non-profit organization that links the technical and business expertise of volunteer employees to small and growing processors and millers in the developing world. In West Africa, Hershey is working on the ground with Root Capital, a non-profit social investment fund that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa and Latin America by lending capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses.For more information, visitwww.NourishingMinds.com.