updated 3/10/2011 1:48:44 PM ET 2011-03-10T18:48:44

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., March 10, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Due to the ongoing economic recession, one in five people in Orange County are living at the poverty line, at risk of not having enough food to eat every day. More than a third of those at risk of hunger are children.  

The Junior League of Orange County, Calif. Inc., (JLOCC) is dedicated to aiding the Second Harvest Food Bank in its mission to end hunger. In the first year of a new three-year partnership, members of the JLOCC are assisting with the Second Harvest Food Bank Backpack program (nationally sponsored by Feeding America), which is currently serving  youth in three locations - Santa Ana, Westminster and Anaheim.  Throughout the duration of the program, it is expected to expand to 15 locations in order to feed as many as 700 children.

JLOCC members will assist in coordinating food drives, backpack assembly, obtaining educational materials and holding events.  According to the JLOCC Second Harvest Backpack Program Committee Chair Jennie Thomas, "This year our 12 committee members will give over 300 hours assisting in the development of this much-needed program.  It was staggering to learn the magnitude of this problem in our county. In an affluent community like ours, this problem should be solvable." 

In order for its members to learn about the growing concern of childhood hunger, and what they can do to help, members of the JLOCC will attend a training session led by Second Harvest Food Bank Program Services Coordinator Cristina St. Amant, who will speak about issues of hunger in Orange County, how it affects children and families, and what services her organization provides. 

This training will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, April 9, at the Second Harvest facility at 8014 Marine Way, Irvine, 92618. The session will conclude with a Q&A session and tour of the facility. Local legislators are invited to participate in a reception following the tour.  

JLOCC's volunteers actively support the community through collaboration with other Orange County nonprofit organizations.  This year the JLOCC's efforts are directed on behalf of the community in conjunction with groups including the Second Harvest Food Bank Backpack Program, Crittenton Services Connect Program, Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) Reading Program, Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Emancipated Youth Program, Kinship Support Services Program, and the League's Bear Hugs and Bear Necessities Program. The JLOCC members also conduct done-in-a-day volunteer projects through Impact Orange County.

About the Junior League of Orange County, California, Inc.

The Junior League of Orange County, California, Inc., is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.  JLOCC has helped found organizations such as Orangewood Children's Home and the Volunteer Center of Orange County, now known as OneOC.  As a solely educational and charitable organization, the JLOCC's trained volunteers actively support the community through collaboration with organizations that promote and support the health, safety and education of all individuals in Orange County.  A 501(c)(3) organization, the JLOCC reaches out to women of all races, religions, and national origins.  Originally founded in 1956 as the Newport Harbor Service League, the JLOCC is a member organization of the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.  To learn more about the JLOCC, call (949) 261-0823 or visit www.jlocc.org .

CONTACT: Susan Ballou; susanballou@att.net
         (949) 477-3070

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