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Jeff Bridges and Gov. McDonnell Visit Barcroft Elementary

by ARLnow.com June 7, 2011 at 3:55 pm 4,948 18 Comments

(Updated at 2:00 a.m.) Academy Award winning actor Jeff Bridges, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stopped by Barcroft Elementary School today to launch a statewide anti-childhood-hunger campaign.

Kids, teachers, school officials, politicians, photographers and reporters crammed into the school’s auditorium to watch the hour-long event, which was part press conference and part school assembly. Bridges, McDonnell and Vilsack were joined on stage by representatives from the Federation of Virginia Food Banks and the non-profit group Share Our Strength. Also on stage were a pair of wise-cracking vegetable puppets.

“I’m surprised that broccoli is here today,” said Vilsack, gesturing to one of the puppets in front of the youthful crowd. “I just had him for lunch.”

The campaign — dubbed No Kid Hungry — seeks to reduce childhood hunger nationwide by connecting kids and parents with existing (but sometimes hard to find) food assistance programs. Today’s event marked the start of the campaign in Virginia, where fewer than 20 percent of eligible children are enrolled in summer nutrition programs, according to a new report.

“It’s not acceptable and we need to do much, much better,” McDonnell said of childhood hunger in the state. “There’s plenty of money that’s in these programs at the federal government level… we just need your help, you young people, to tell your parents, tell your friends about the fact that these programs are available.”

Bridges says he became the national spokesperson for the No Kid Hungry campaign to help promote a “big picture” solution to childhood hunger.

“One in four kids are hungry in this country,” Bridges said. “It doesn’t have to be that way. We have enough food, we know how to end it… I feel it’s patriotic to care about the health of our kids.”

Asked about President Obama’s pledge to end childhood hunger by 2015, Bridges conceded that it would be tough to accomplish.

“It is kind of unlikely in a way, but it’s certainly not impossible,” he said. “But goals, the purpose of a goal, is to bring attention to something. So you might fail in achieving that goal, but if you don’t even set that goal, then you’re going to have to settle for the status quo.”

More photos after the jump.

  • Tabby

    ♥♥♥♥♥♥

  • BonAir mom

    I was there – great event, and Jeff was wonderful!

  • TooEasy

    The Iron Man Suit belongs to us.

  • Holy crap!

    He has really stepped up his game.

  • MB

    I’d only trust one of these guys to help teach my kids how to live, and it’s not Bob McDonnell or Tom Vilsack.

  • Lacey Forest

    It is an embarrassing thing that we are the wealthiest country in the world and we have to have this kind of program to make sure that kids have enough to eat every day.

    • Alexandrian

      Wealthiest country in the world? What planet are you on?! Honey, you need to get out from under that rock and see what’s happening to this “wealthy” nation!

      • Josh S

        The biggest economy. That’s one way of defining “wealthiest country in the world.” However, with 90% of the wealth concentrated in 10% of the households, it’s not like we’re Sweden or anything like that. The days of being proud of the American system ended about thirty years back.

        • doodly

          Yep. In the last 30 years, the top 10% have enjoyed virtually all the growth in the economy. The bottom 90% have been more productive, but their income, adjusted for inflation, has grown by zero.

          • Aaron

            Unfortunately for your argument, the top 10% of the U.S. is US here in Arlington County. Arlington County, the 9th richest county in America according to Forbes magazine, with a median household income of $100k a year. We’re insanely wealthy by anyone’s standards (excepting, of course, our average local yuppie who needs a bigger ultra-luxury condo, a newer Audi, another prestigious graduate degree, etc.).

            With Democrats outnumbering Republicans 2:1 and a spendaholic county board (one billion dollars a year and counting!), you’d think we would have eliminated something as simple as “childhood hunger” by now. Oh well, other priorities I guess.

          • doodly

            To be clear, that’s not my argument. I was just pointing out that income disparity here sucks. That doesn’t matter to the overall issue.

            As for Democrats outspending Republicans 2:1, I laugh.

            As for a billion a year and counting, that’s meaningless. You have to compare it on a per capita basis to other counties.

        • Lacey Forest

          The days of being proud of the American system ended when John Boehner and friends decided the most important outcome of government is to make sure their wealthy friends get to keep as much of their income as possible and the rest of us will just have to make do with what is left. Of course, that makes sense when the name of the game is to get into office and stay there. Campaigns have become so prohibitively expensive that the GOP knows it can’t afford to offend the wealthy donors it depends on to keep its accounts filled.

          • What about all of the non-wealthy voters who are “making do”? They do have votes, you know….

          • Stu Pendus

            It’s funny, because 10% of the households apparently horde all the wealth, and they are also able to outvote the 90% of the rest of us and keep Republicans in power. AMAZING.

      • Malthus

        If you measure wealth in terms of the amount of resources that are consumed and turned into waste per capita, America still ranks among the top nations in the world.

      • doodly

        The U.S. is basically in the top 10, as measured by GDP per person.

  • From the Hill

    The Dude abides…

  • Holy crap!

    This went downhill fast, thanks Lacey. Next time…count to ten before you comment just to make sure you still want to push “submit”

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