11/08/2012 11:50 am ET Updated Jan 08, 2013

Uniting a Post-Election Nation by Ending Child Hunger

Co-authored by Billy Shore, CEO and founder of Share Our Strength and Michelynn Woodard, president of jcp cares and vice president of philanthropy for jcpenney

The airways are free from divisive political ads. The polls have been closed. The votes have been tallied, and the American public has spoken. For the past 18 months, it seems we've been deluged with discourse sharply dividing this country down political lines. However, with the election behind us, we must not dwell on these differences, lest we lose sight of our ultimate goal: a stronger, more robust nation.

Now is the time to focus on our commonalities -- those attributes which make us proud to be members of the United States of America. And one issue that affects us all is the health, vitality and well-being of our nation's children.

Right now, we are rebounding from an economic struggle that has left 46 million people reeling from poverty. And as a consequence of their parents' unintended financial hardships, more than 16 million children in our nation are struggling with hunger. That's one in five, and that's far too many.

We have the tools we need to feed our kids when their families are having trouble putting food on the table. Federal nutrition programs like school breakfast and places to eat during the summer make healthy meals available to families who may need a hand while they get back on their feet. Our task is to make sure these families can access these programs efficiently and effectively. And we also need to equip families with the shopping and cooking skills they need to stretch their tight food budgets so kids are also getting healthy meals at home.

As both private citizens and business leaders, we know the key is to unite our efforts, take an active role in finding creative solutions and stop relying solely on others like government officials to make it all happen. Yes, our political leaders will play a critical role in ending child hunger in America -- a goal that could not be achieved without their support. But so will the mom who writes her superintendent to make sure her school district has access to breakfasts in the classroom. And so will the corporation that spurs its employees to volunteer at a local food bank.

To end childhood hunger in America and make sure all kids in this nation get the healthy food they need every single day, we need to combine our efforts.

In the spirit of corporate citizenship, jcpenney is doing its part by making a generous donation to help the No Kid Hungry campaign accomplish this large, but achievable, goal. And the retailer is taking it one step further by asking customers to join in the effort by rounding up in-store purchases made from now through Nov. 22 to the nearest whole dollar and donating the difference.

We believe everyone has a strength to share when it comes to ending childhood hunger in America, and that to restore this country, it's imperative we help our nation's most vulnerable citizens, our future leaders. This is more than just a moral obligation: It's also our civic duty.