It's hard to imagine anyone in the United States being hungry. Food seems to be everywhere we turn, but the hard truth is that 1 in 5 American children don't know where their next meal is coming from. It's a truth that ACM Award winners Little Big Town and up-and-coming singer-songwriter Hunter Hayes wanted to bring to light. Hayes and songwriters Luke Laird and Barry Dean have co-written "Here's Hope," which tackles the issue head-on with a together-we-can-beat-this attitude. The song was performed live by Little Big Town as the ACM Lifting Lives show moment during the 47th Academy of Country Music Awards.
"We didn't realize, and I think a lot of people have kind of missed it that there's a problem with hunger, and there's a problem with hunger in our backyards," Hayes said. "It's not in a different country. It's not in a commercial. It's here and it's your next door neighbor. And our message was kind of like well, ‘You know what? It's in our backyard, which means we can help.' They're our neighbors, which means we can do something. There's hope."
"When I first learned about Lifting Lives a few years ago, I immediately asked to be a part of this amazing organization," said Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman. "Lifting Lives seeks out needs and takes care of people. They work hard at giving both children and adults comfort, contentment & happiness. We are so honored and excited to be a part of the very special Lifting Lives moment to end childhood hunger on the ACM Awards show. We can't wait!" Lifting Lives, the charitable arm of the Academy, spotlighted the issue in conjunction with ConAgra Foods, which has been helping feed hungry children for almost 20 years. Since 1998, ConAgra has donated 275 million pounds of food, which translates into more than 200 million meals. The company has also established the "Child Hunger Ends Here" program. Whenever a customer buys a specially-marked package of brands like Healthy Choice, Chef Boyardee, Orville Redenbacher's, Hunt's Tomatoes, Manwich or Peter Pan Peanut Butter, a code on the package will prompt ConAgra to donate money to Feeding America.
"Lifting Lives is dedicated to improving lives through the power of music, and we are thrilled to partner with Con Agra, Little Big Town, Hunter Hayes and consumers to help eradicate hunger," said ACM Lifting Lives Executive Director Lisa Huddleson.
"ConAgra Foods is proud to partner with the Academy of Country Music, Hunter Hayes and Feeding America to help solve the issue of Child Hunger," said Chris Sinta, ConAgra Foods Director of Consumer Promotions and Sponsorships. "We believe this partnership, and tonight's performance of ‘Here's Hope' by Little Big Town, will drive home the fact that more than one in five children don't know where their next meal is coming from, raise awareness of our commitment to ending child hunger, and reinforce how everyone can help."
CAA, G7 Entertainment and the Academy played vital roles in bringing the partnership together. This year's ACM Lifting Lives show moment with Little Big Town continued the tradition of moving performances during the live ACM Awards that help support Lifting Lives and its beneficiaries. In 2011, chart-topping country artist Darius Rucker joined 25 ACM Lifting Lives music campers on stage for a special performance of "Music From the Heart," a song the campers wrote collectively last summer with Brett James and Chris Young at the ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp in Nashville. The first Lifting Lives show moment in 2009 featured Trace Adkins performing "'Til the Last Shot's Fired" with the West Point Glee Club. The performance raised funds and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that aids wounded American troops. In 2010, Toby Keith and Dave Koz performed Toby Keith's "Cryin' for me (Wayman's Song)" to benefit Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C), whose mission is to create and accelerate groundbreaking cancer research that will get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives.
ACM Lifting Lives works year round to improve lives through the power of music by funding nationwide programs offering music therapy and music education. We invite you to join us in supporting ConAgra's Child Hunger Ends Here program by visiting www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com.
Legal Footnote * For each code entered through 8/31/12, ConAgra Foods will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America, up to a maximum of 3 million meals. $0.13 = 1 meal secured by Feeding America on behalf of local food banks. Limit five codes entered per household per day. To enter codes and learn more, visit www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com.