Rachael Ray’s “YUM-O!” Organization was founded by the Food Network star and cookbook author in 2006. Armed with a three-fold mission statement, Ray’s objectives are to educate kids about healthy food choices and teach them how to cook; end childhood hunger in America by ensuring every kid gets a good meal; and fund cooking education by providing scholarships.
Rachael Ray’s “YUM-O!” Organization has partnered with Feeding America, Share Our Strength, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, and Charity Folks to raise awareness and funds for the ever-growing childhood hunger problem in America.
YUM-O! “Cook” Section
The YUM-O! Website offers a wealth of information, resources, cooking tips, and recipes to “educate kids and their families about food and cooking.” The cooking section includes interactive tools to help kids learn how to stock a basic pantry with herbs, spices, condiments, cooking oils, and food items so they can turn ordinary meals into something extraordinary.
Kids can also learn about basic cooking tools that make cooking easy. YUM-O! explains how each tool works and how to properly use it, clean it, and store it. YUM-O! also includes a “Games” section which includes food trivia, food memory cards, and “What’s the Diff” game which engages kids in spotting the differences between two food pictures.
The “Get Inspired” section includes links to people and organizations that promote healthy eating habits. Visitors can learn about schools that have started their own organic gardens, incorporated healthy lifestyle programs, and created culinary programs for children and teens.
“Get Inspired” also includes a recipe section where kids are encouraged to submit their healthy recipes and stories about cooking in the kitchen. This is a great place for kids to find fun recipes by other kids and learn what inspired them to create the dish. Recipes range from “Fried Red Tomatoes and Eggs” to “Banana Fruit French Toast” and “Mashed Potatoes with Carrots” to “Super Duper Spicy Pizza.”
Rachael Ray offers a large collection of recipes that can be sorted by age group and category. Looking for breakfast ideas for 4 to 6 years old? Need lunch ideas for teens? How about quick dinner recipes or vegetarian recipes? With two clicks of your mouse, you can access exactly what you need.
YUM-O! “Feed” Section
Rachael Ray shares information and resources to combat childhood hunger in America. In partnership with Share Our Strength, Ray helps host Cooking Matters cooking classes, formerly Operation Frontier, to provide financial support to SOS.
Cooking Matters offers a variety of cooking classes which take place in after-school programs, housing centers, and community-based facilities. Courses focus on teaching low-income families how to create cheap, yet healthy meals. Participants can also learn basic knife skills, how to read ingredient labels, and how to shop in the grocery store to avoid buying unhealthy foods.
Ray has also partnered with Feeding America to create the “If You Can, We Can” canned food drive program. Audience guests of the “Rachael Ray Show” donated over 3500 pounds of food and $10,000 cash in support of Ray’s program.
YUM-O! “Fund” Section
Rachael Ray’s YUM-O! Organization has partnered with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to establish a scholarship program for high school students who want to attend culinary school or obtain a degree in hospitality management.
Each year NRAEF awards $1.7 million in awards. Funds are distributed to high school students, undergraduates, and educators. Over $12 million in scholarships has been awarded since 1997; with over 83,000 students receiving awards in 2010.
Ray has also partnered with Charity Folks where various items are auctioned off to raise funds for hunger-relief organizations. Charity Folks specializes in celebrity-driven fundraising events. Visitors can bid on all kinds of fun events such as spending a day with their favorite movie star or TV actor, or buying personalized items from famous celebrities.
At present, Rachael Ray is auctioning her personalized pup for breast cancer awareness. Auction items change on a regular basis and visitors can submit a special ‘dream’ request if they want something they can’t find listed through available auctions.
Tax-deductible cash donations for Rachael Ray’s end childhood hunger programs can be also be made directly through the YUM-O! Website.
According to Share Our Strength, childhood hunger affects nearly 1 in 4 children. Children who do not have access to nutritious foods can experience lifelong problems including: weakened immune systems, behavioral problems, ear infections, stomachaches, colds, fatigue, and headaches.
If you’d like to join the fight to end hunger problems in America start by visiting Rachael Ray’s YUM-O! Website or any of the sources listed below.
Rachael Ray’s YUM-O website
Share Our Strength
Cooking Matters (formerly Operation Frontline)
Feeding America List of U.S. Food Banks
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation