RACHAEL RAY ANNOUNCES YUM-O! CHARITY TO IMPROVE KIDS’ RELATIONSHIPS WITH FOOD

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NEW YORK, NY, APRIL 26, 2007 – Emmy-nominated daytime host Rachael Ray is embarking on a mission close to her heart. Ray announced the launch of The Yum-o! Organization, a nonprofit charity that empowers kids and their families to improve their relationships with food and cooking. Yum-o!’s three work areas include educating kids and their families about cooking, feeding hungry American kids and funding cooking education and scholarships. An entire show dedicated to her charity initiative will air on her syndicated daytime show, “Rachael Ray,” on April 26th, 2007. Check your local listings for channel and time. 

“Growing up, I had a very healthy relationship with food and cooking and, throughout my life, I’ve met people who were positively influenced by lessons learned in the kitchen,” said Ray. “We’ve created Yum-o! to introduce more kids to cooking, which can have such a meaningful impact on their lives and health. Food definitely brings a smile to my face and so many great memories can be made by spending time together as a family in the kitchen,” concluded Ray.

Yum-o!’s mission is three-fold – Cook, Feed and Fund. 

COOK – Educating kids and their families about cooking

Yum-o! will educate kids and their parents about cooking, enabling them to explore the joy of food while making meals that are easy, healthy, affordable and delicious. The first step is helping them get in the kitchen and cooking freshly-prepared meals. Yum-o! makes the process of getting in the kitchen and cooking easy by removing the intimidation factor for new cooks.

Parents and their kids can go to www.yum-o.org where they will find continuously updated information and tools to get started. On the site, families will find healthy recipes that are easy to prepare, especially on a budget. The website will be a community for the sharing of success stories and cooking tips.

About Yum-o!’s cooking work, Ray commented, “We want to get parents and kids cooking healthier breakfasts, lunches, lunchboxes and dinners and we want to make food fun, fast and affordable for American families. Our goal is to get great recipes out there and to listen to parents’ and kids’ concerns about health and nutrition, and what their kids are eating both at school and at home.” Ray continued, “The challenge I’ve heard from parents is that they don’t have the time or money to cook healthier. They just don’t believe they can make good food fast and that is just not true.”

FEED – Feeding hungry American kids

Despite living in the world's richest country, a startling number of Americans go hungry every year. According to a study completed by the UDSA in 2006, the rate of food insecurity for American households in 2005 was 11%, which means that more than 35 million people did not have access to enough food to meet their basic needs. Nearly 13 million of these people were children — that’s almost 1 in 5 kids! These kids can be found in urban and rural areas in all geographic regions of the country. They are raised in both married and single parent homes, and they represent all races and ethnicities.

Research shows that children who are undernourished have trouble concentrating and bonding with other children, are more likely to suffer illnesses that force them to be absent from school, and perform poorly on standardized tests. Hunger in America has been, and continues to be, a real problem for a significant part of our population. Therefore, Yum-o! is making the fight against hunger a part of our mission.

FUND – Funding cooking education and scholarships

Yum-o! recognizes the wide variety of food industry opportunities for young people making career choices today. According to the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry employs more than 12.8 million people and is the nation’s largest employer other than government. Further, the restaurant industry expects to add 2 million jobs during the next decade. Yum-o! will help kids reach their food-related career goals in this industry by funding scholarships, supporting cooking programs and rewarding public schools that run great food or nutrition programs.

Yum-o! envisions a country where all kids realize the joy of cooking and eating great food. Eating habits are formed at a young age and, if kids are given opportunities and knowledge, they will make better food choices. Yum-o! will motivate kids and their families to take control of their meals and improve the way they eat. 

About Rachael Ray
Rachael Ray is the author of more than a dozen cookbooks, including Express Lane Meals and Rachael Ray 2-4-6-8: Cooking for Couples or Crowds, and host of the wildly popular “30 Minute Meals” and “Tasty Travels” shows on the Food Network. She is also the Editor-In-Chief of her own food and lifestyle magazine Every Day With Rachael Ray.  Additionally, Ray has a line of knives, cook wear and bedding.  In September 2006, “Rachael Ray,” a nationally syndicated daytime show produced by CBS Television Distribution and Harpo Productions, launched as the highest rated syndicated show launch since 2002.

About the Yum-o! Organization
Yum-o! is a non-profit organization that empowers kids and their families to improve their relationships with food and cooking. By providing the tools to create easy, affordable and delicious meals, Yum-o! is changing the way America eats. Yum-o!’s three work areas include educating kids and their families about cooking, feeding hungry American kids and funding cooking education and scholarships. For more information Yum-o!, please visit www.yum-o.org.