ROCHESTER - The Rochester Rotary awarded the Paul Harris Fellow recognition to Claire Bloom of Rochester, founder of End 68 Hours of Hunger. The award acknowledges her exceptional efforts in addressing the critical issue of childhood hunger.
Established by Rotary in 1957, the Paul Harris Fellow recognition is given to individuals who have contributed or had contributions made in their name amounting to $1,000 or more to The Rotary Foundation. It serves as an expression of appreciation for significant contributions to Rotary's initiatives. Notable figures such as former President Jimmy Carter, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, U.S. astronaut James Lovell, UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, and polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk have all been recognized as Paul Harris Fellows.
Club member Jackie Fitzpatrick described Bloom as the recognition personified, stating that with over 40 End 68 Hours of Hunger programs established nationwide, Bloom's impactful work has made a profound difference in the lives of countless children. Fitzpatrick added that around 100 Rochester school children receive a bag of food to sustain them through the weekend.
End 68 Hours of Hunger is a public not-for-profit organization committed to addressing the approximately 68-hour period of hunger some school children face between their last school lunch on Friday and their first school breakfast on Monday. Since its establishment in New Hampshire in 2011, this weekend program has provided nourishing food to schoolchildren, ensuring they have sustenance throughout the weekend. Entirely volunteer-based, End 68 Hours of Hunger ensures that nearly 100 percent of funds go directly towards feeding at-risk children, unless otherwise specified by the donor.
"Childhood hunger - or food insecurity - is a national problem," said Bloom. "It occurs when children receive insufficient food on a regular basis and in many cases, missing meals entirely. After a while, these children also experience 'fear of hunger' that affects their behavior as much as physical hunger affects their bodies."
"I am very honored by the award, but more honored that people from the Rochester Rotary Club had enough faith in my vision of ending childhood hunger," she added.
End 68 Hours of Hunger has made a significant impact on addressing these challenges. By providing nourishing food to children, all the behaviors associated with food insecurity disappear, and students arrive at school on Mondays ready to learn. Teachers have reported increased responsibility and improved performance among the children, with documented improvements in reading and math scores.
For more information about End 68 Hours of Hunger and how to get involved, visit www.end68hoursofhunger.org.