Mike Metallo speaks with TODAY anchors Carson Daly and Matt Lauer to Shine A Light on Childhood Hunger

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Williston, VT (June 24, 2014) — As part of TODAY's Shine a Light series, a campaign to support worthy causes throughout the year, TODAY anchor, Carson Daly has chosen to shine a light on childhood hunger and healthy eating in America.

In an interview with Daly and fellow TODAY anchor Matt Lauer, President and CEO of the National Gardening Association, Mike Metallo cited the importance of establishing school gardens in an effort to combat childhood hunger and obesity.

"We are growing a population of children that are not well-nourished,” Metallo said. “Over 6.5 million children are living in food deserts. Our kids are becoming overweight not because they are eating well; they are overweight because they are eating poorly.”

Video: Watch the full interview

Daly has set up a Crowdrise fundraising page to create school gardens and bring healthier food choices to kids.

As cited by the Today show, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in 3 children and adolescents in America are overweight or obese. Ironically, at the same time, the USDA reports that 1 in 4 American kids live in food insecure homes. Metallo continued, "School gardens help to reduce food insecurity and the number of food deserts. They teach children how to eat properly — and what good food is."

Daly agreed stating, "We are giving them the power to battle hunger on their own turf and share what they learn throughout their communities. Some of the food they grow will go back to food banks and some will go home with classmates in need. I can't feed every child in America but I can help make a difference one kid and one garden at a time."

Join Daly and KidsGardening.org in this effort by visiting his fundraising page! As an added incentive if you donate or raise at least $50 from 6/24 at 5:00am ET to 7/2 at 11:59pm ET, you will be automatically entered for a chance to win 2 tickets and backstage passes for a meet and greet with Carson Daly on the set of The Voice.

About KidsGardening.org: KidsGardening.org is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Williston, VT that promotes learning through gardening to encourage personal growth. Their mission is to empower every generation to lead healthier lives, build stronger communities, and encourage environmental stewardship through educational gardening programs. Since 1982, they have provided nearly $4 million in grants to more than 10,000 schools and community-based organizations benefitting roughly 2 million youth across the country. Learn more about KidsGardening.org's programs and services at kidsgardening.org.

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