Television is full of pleas from charitable organizations for contributions to feed hungry children in Third World countries.

In fact, an estimated 12 million children or one in six are at risk of going hungry in America. That hazard is disproportionately high in rural America.

In response, the National Pork Board is partnering with “Share Our Strength” to make sure no child in America grows up hungry.

“America’s pork producers help to feed the world, so it’s a natural fit for us to work with Share Our Strength in its vision of ending childhood hunger,” states National Pork Board President Lynn Harrison, an Elk Mound, WI, pork producer. “Share Our Strength’s solid reputation with chefs and food professionals inspired us to look at how we could work together at a local level.”

This year the pork checkoff will support Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation events in six cities: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and New Orleans. The pork checkoff will assist in showcasing trend-setting recipes and a variety of pork products.

Vande Rose Farms of Oskaloosa, IA, and Grateful Growers Farms of Denver, NC, are donating the pork products that the chefs will prepare.

“We salute the National Pork Board for its engagement in this important mission and for its producers’ commitment to working with communities to make a tangible difference,” says Bill Shore, founder and executive director of Share Our Strength.

The story of hunger in America is amplified in the rural community. In 2001, 17.5% of all rural households with children didn’t enjoy a secure food supply, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.

That’s more than one million children, notes Ceci Snyder, assistant vice president of consumer marketing for the National Pork Board. “Rural hunger is spurred by lower wages, unemployment and less access to nutritious food. Distance to a food store is often a significant issue as well,” she says.

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation has been going strong since 1988, adds Snyder. Chefs donate their time at events ranging from black tie affairs to outdoor barbecues that attract 800 to 1,000 guests.

Vande Rose Farms is taking donations one- step further. “In addition to our 2008 sponsorships, Vande Rose Farms will donate one pound of pork to a local food bank for every person who attends Taste of the Nation events in each of our six markets,” says Snyder.

For more details on pork checkoff’s partnership with Share Our Strength, visit www.theotherwhitemeat.com.