Feinstein’s Challenge to fight hunger raises a record $197 million nationally

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KINGSTON, R.I. —July 14, 2009–In these harsh economic times, many Americans are wondering where their next meal is coming from. Thanks to Rhode Island philanthropist, Alan Shawn Feinstein, more people will get access to more food.

Feinstein’s 2009 12th annual spring $1 million giveaway to fight hunger raised a record $197 million nationwide – the highest total ever.

The Feinstein Foundation encourages anti-hunger organizations to use the $1 million to challenge their own donors to increase their fundraising efforts. This year agencies from all 50 states participated in the challenge. The million dollars was then divided proportionally among them.

Grants, ranging from $39 to $24, 841, were made to nearly 1,800 anti-hunger agencies and houses of worship throughout the country. In Rhode Island, 72 agencies raised more than $1.3 million.

Feinstein started his yearly $1 million spring giveaway in 1997. Since its inception, his annual campaign every March and April has raised more than $1 billion – the most successful grass-roots charitable effort ever. Ironically, this is the same number of people worldwide that currently experience hunger.

Feinstein is the founder of the Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America at the University of Rhode Island which heads the administrative work for this annual Challenge. One hundred and twelve Rhode Island schools helped spearhead this campaign by collecting food and other donations for their local food pantries.