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The History

In 1981, after the passing of its dear friend and co-founder, folk musician Harry Chapin, WhyHunger’s future was unclear. But co-founder Bill Ayres, with the support of the Chapin family, doubled down on the fundamental principles of WhyHunger: addressing the root causes of hunger, investing in long-term solutions and supporting grassroots organizations and leaders. With a clear mission and a lifetime of dedication, he rallied support from the music community, led by Bruce Springsteen, and donors – like you – from across the country to secure WhyHunger’s future.

A Snapshot of Change: 40 years later

In the 40 years since Bill and Harry founded WhyHunger, the organization has celebrated the following accomplishments:

  • Transforming emergency food:

    Established the first and only National Hunger Hotline responding to over 200,000 calls from hungry Americans, connecting them to local emergency food providers and federal nutrition programs and launched Nourishing Connections, peer-to-peer learning exchanges that bridge the gaps between food banking and community food security.
  • Combating childhood hunger:

    Connecting children in need to free, healthy meals in the summertime through the National Hunger Hotline and our database of over 50,000 community-based locations for the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, the country’s only comprehensive listing.
  • From charity to change:

    Granted hundreds of thousands of dollars to pioneering grassroots organizations across the country and recruited thousands of effective and innovative community-based organizations to the Grassroots Action Network to receive training, technical assistance, networking opportunities and capacity building services.
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Addressing the root causes of hunger, investing in long-term solutions and supporting grassroots organizations and leaders.