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Jeff Bridges Helps Kick Off Child Hunger Campaign

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"Bad Blake" in Crazy Heart (credit:  GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

“Bad Blake” in Crazy Heart (credit: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Actor Jeff Bridges and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa were on hand Wednesday in South Los Angeles to kick off the No Hungry Kid Campaign.

“More than 17 million children in the U.S. don’t have reliable access to the food they need to lead healthy, active lives,” Bridges said, speaking at Figueroa Elementary School. “But our kids aren’t hungry because we lack food or because of a lack of food and nutrition programs. They are hungry because they lack access to the nutritious food they need to grow and thrive.”

An Oscar-award winning actor, Bridges founded the End Hunger Network and also lent his voice for a public service announcement for radio play. Bridges has been an anti-hunger activist for 26 years.

The No Kid Hungry Campaign is primarily funded by private donors, bu that money will be used to increase participation in federal nutrition programs, Villaraigosa said.

“These programs will bring in more federal funding to pay for the breakfasts, lunches, and snacks our most vulnerable young students need to succeed in the classroom,” he said.

In Los Angeles alone, more than 1 million children and teens are eligible for government-subsidized meals, according to the campaign.

Food Network chef Guy Fieri will also promote the drive to get more kids into school breakfast and lunch programs and more child care centers to sign up for food programs.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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