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Introduction

In 2009, more than 4 million households with almost 9 million children in the United States were food insecure. Of those, almost 1 million children in those households simply did not get enough to eat—they had to cut the size of their meals, skip meals, or even go whole days without food at some point during the year. The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) has committed to ending childhood hunger in America, but we cannot reach this goal alone. We need the help of state and local governments, faith-based and community organizations, corporations, foundations, civic groups, volunteers, parents, and youth. Ideas for tackling childhood hunger are often dominated by adults. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (“FNS” or “Sponsor”) believes that America’s youth have perspectives and ideas that can provide a valuable contribution to this discussion.

To help reach the goal of ending childhood hunger in America, FNS is inviting elementary, middle school, and high school students to participate in a video contest (the “Contest”) to show what students are doing or could do to help end childhood hunger in their school or community. FNS is accepting student-created videos of two minutes or less that show creative ways they or their peers are tackling the problem of childhood hunger or an innovative idea they have that would contribute to the goal of ending childhood hunger in America. The resulting videos will serve to inspire students across the country to take action on the issue of childhood hunger. 

1.                  Eligibility – Who Can Participate?

The Contest is open only to students from first grade through twelfth grade who are United States citizens or legal residents (inclusive of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa).  Students may enter the contest as individuals or as teams.  If entering as a team, all student members of the team must be from the same school.  Children, adopted children, and step-children of employees of the USDA are not eligible. The Contest is subject to all applicable federal laws and regulations. Participation in the Contest constitutes the entering student’s/team’s full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules and Sponsor decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to the Contest.  

2.                  Sponsor

The Contest is being sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302.


The Sponsor, and only the Sponsor, makes all decisions related to the development, management, and implementation of the Contest.

3.                  Contest Submission Period

The Contest submission period begins September 15, 2011 at 12:00 PM EDT and ends December 15, 2011 at 11:59 PM EDT (the “Contest Submission Period”). The Sponsor’s computer, set to Eastern Daylight Time from September 15, 2011 through the end of the Contest Submission Period, is the official time-keeping device for this Contest.

Contest Dates

Contest Submission Period Begins:     September 15, 2011
Contest Submission Period Ends:        December 15, 2011
Judging and Selection of Finalists:      approximately January 2, 2012 - January 20, 2012

Popular Voting Period:                        approximately January 23, 2012 - February 17, 2012

Announcement of Winner(s):              approximately February 24, 2012

4.         Recognition

Twelve (12) finalists (“Finalists”) will be selected by a panel of judges based on the judging criteria. The public will vote on the Finalists to determine the top two (2) winners in each of three (3) school categories: elementary school, middle school/junior high school, and high school. Each of the winners (or winning teams, collectively “Winners”) will be promoted through various distribution channels including the FNS website, the USDA blog, local and national press releases, Facebook, Twitter, a national webinar, and the FNS Outreach Coalition annual meeting.

For purposes of the Contest categories, whether a school is considered an elementary school, middle school/junior high school, or high school will be determined by the classification of the school by the cognizant State Board of Education.

5.         Submission Requirements and Uploading Your Video

The Sponsor is looking for bold, creative, and exciting videos of two minutes or less that show what students are doing or could do to help end childhood hunger in their schools or community. Videos should demonstrate creative ways that students are tackling the problem of childhood hunger or an innovative idea they have that would contribute to the goal of ending childhood hunger in America. The resulting videos will serve to inspire students across the country to take action on the issue of childhood hunger. The videos must be created by the students who submit them.

Although many students take advantage of school feeding programs, there are many more hungry children who are not participating in these programs or have limited access to food outside of school hours. For example, just 10 percent of eligible students participate in the Summer Food Service Program, which provides meals to low-income children during the summer months. We want to see what students are doing to help their peers in making sure that children have access to food both during the school day and when they are not in school.

The video should demonstrate how students are making an impact or why they think their idea would be successful. Videos can incorporate graphics, original music, written words and/or original footage of people as long as all people represented in the video have signed release forms: www.fns.usda.gov/outreach/videocontest. For some ideas stakeholders have expressed to FNS on ways to reduce childhood hunger please visit: http://www.endhunger.usda.gov.

All submitted videos (“Submissions” or Videos Submissions”) must meet the following requirements:

Food and Nutrition Service

U.S. Department of Agriculture

ATTN: Ending Childhood Hunger Video Contest

3101 Park Center Drive, Suite 1441

Alexandria, VA 22302

Consent Forms for each student or team member must be received by the close of the Contest Submission Period in order for a Video Submission to be eligible for Contest consideration.

  • Submissions must be made no later than December 15, 2011 at 11:59 PM EDT at http://endhunger.challenge.gov/submissions/new.  Submission time is the time of the submission of the You Tube link on the Contest website, not the time of the uploading of the Video Submission to You Tube.  Video Submissions that are only uploaded to You Tube without a link being placed on the Contest website will not create a valid entry into the Contest, and such Video Submissions will not be eligible for Contest consideration.
  • Video Submissions must be two minutes or less.
  • If any audio or text in the Video Submission is in a language other than English, the Submission must be accompanied by an English translation of the audio or text in the form of captioning and/or audio dubbing.
  • Submissions must be made available free of charge to the Sponsor throughout the Contest. Finalist and Winner Submissions must continue to be made available to the Sponsor free of charge through December 31, 2015.
  • Once a Submission is submitted, the submitting student/team (“Contestant(s)”) cannot make any changes or alterations to the Submission until the Contest is complete. The approximate date the Contest will be complete is February 24, 2011.
  • Video Submissions must focus on what students are doing or could do to help end childhood hunger in their school or community. Video Submissions should show creative ways students are tackling the problem of childhood hunger or an innovative idea they have that would contribute to the goal of ending childhood hunger in America.

Some examples of ideas or activities that could be shown in the video include, but are not limited to:

  • Teaching children about food and nutrition.
  • Encouraging schools to take part in the HealthierUS School Challenge.
  • Promoting School Breakfast to increase participation.
  • Helping connect students with food outside of school hours (during breaks, at night, or on the weekend).
  • Informing parents about ways they can access nutrition assistance programs.
  • Working with local food banks or other anti-hunger organizations.  Organizing educational events or food drives in your community.
  • Engaging local officials, organizations, schools, or businesses to help reduce childhood hunger.

Uploading Your Video Submission

Contestants must upload Video Submissions to YouTube and then submit the link on the Ending Childhood Hunger Video Contest website at http://endhunger.challenge.gov/submissions/new. The title of the Video Submission should include the name of the student/team’s school, school type, and the city, and state of the school in the following format:

School Name_School Type_City _State.

For example, a Video Submission created by a student or team of students from George Middle School in Anytown City, Any State would be titled:  “George Middle School_Middle School_Anytown City_Any State.”

Helpful links

Submissions by teams should be submitted only once by one member of the team.

Additional Restrictions:

Submissions containing any matter which in the sole discretion of the Sponsor is indecent, defamatory, in obvious bad taste, which demonstrates a lack of respect for public morals or conduct, which promotes discrimination in any form, which shows unlawful acts being performed, which contains nutrition messaging that is inconsistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate, which is slanderous or libelous, or which adversely affects the reputation of Sponsor will not be accepted. If the Sponsor, in its sole discretion, finds any Submission to be unacceptable, then such Submission shall be deemed disqualified.

Submissions which in Sponsor’s sole discretion are determined to be substantially similar to a prior entry will be disqualified. Submissions must be original, be the work of the Contestant, and must not violate the rights of other parties. Each Contestant represents and warrants that he/she/it is the sole author and owner of the Submission, that the Submission is wholly original with the Contestant, that it does not infringe on any copyright or any other rights of any third party of which Contestant is aware, and is free of malware. Contestant represents and warrants that it has permission, via license or otherwise, to use or incorporate any video portions which are authored or owned by third parties. The Sponsor will not be held responsible if copyrighted materials or unauthorized materials are included in the Video Submission. It is the sole responsibility of the Contestant to secure proper permission(s) from the copyright holder of music, stock footage, or any other material owned by third parties which is used in the Video Submission.

Each Contestant represents and warrants that each person appearing in the Video Submission has signed a release for the use of their image and likeness in the Video Submission by Contestant (www.fns.usda.gov/outreach/videocontest) or that a parent/legal guardian has signed a release for the use of the image and likeness of any minor persons appearing in the Video Submission. Contestants whose Video Submissions are selected as finalists will be required to submit copies of signed release forms for all persons appearing in the Video Submission within five (5) days of being notified that they have been selected as a Finalist. Failure to submit copies of signed release forms for each person appearing in the Video Submission will result in the Video Submission being removed from the list of Finalists, and the Video Submission will not be submitted for public voting nor will it be eligible for further Contest consideration.  

Contestants whose Video Submissions are selected as Finalists will be required to submit a copy of their original Video Submission on CD-Rom or DVD within five (5) days of being notified that they have been selected as a Finalist. Failure to submit a copy of the Video Submission will result in its removal from the list of Finalists, and the Video Submission will not be submitted for public voting nor will it be eligible for further Contest consideration.

Sponsor reserves the right to not select the total number of possible Finalists or Winners if enough of the Video Submissions entered into the Contest do not meet the evaluation standards.

Submission Rights:

Each Contestant grants to FNS and USDA, and others acting on behalf of FNS and/or USDA, an irrevocable, royalty-free, non-exclusive worldwide license to use, copy for use, distribute, display publicly, perform publicly, create derivative works, and license others to do so, of/from the Submission for the purpose of educating the public about and inspiring the public to act to end childhood hunger in America.  This license includes posting or linking to the Submission on the official FNS or USDA websites, partner websites, all other forms of media, and generally making the Submission available to the public.  For non-Finalist Contestants this license will be effective through the end of the Contest; for Finalist Contestants this license will be effective through December 31, 2015.

Finalists will be required to grant the license in writing by signing, or having a parent/legal guardian sign, a License (www.fns.usda.gov/outreach/videocontest). Except where prohibited, each Contestant, or Contestant’s parent/legal guardian, must submit the signed License within five (5) days of being notified that they have been selected as a Finalist.  For team submissions, each member of the team, or their parent/legal guardians, must sign the License.  Failure to submit the complete signed License will result in the Video Submission being removed from the list of Finalists, and the Video Submission will not be submitted for public voting nor will it be eligible for further Contest consideration.

ALL POTENTIAL CONTEST FINALISTS/WINNERS ARE SUBJECT TO VERIFICATION BY SPONSOR WHOSE DECISIONS ARE FINAL AND BINDING IN ALL MATTERS RELATED TO THE CONTEST.

6.         Judges and Finalist Selection

Sponsor’s staff will screen all entries to make sure they comply with the eligibility requirements explained in the Official Rules and to ensure basic functionality and integrity (i.e., security). Submissions that meet the eligibility requirements will qualify to be part of the judging round. Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of fair and impartial judges consisting of representatives from the USDA selected by the Sponsor at its sole discretion. Based on the judging criteria identified in the Official Rules, the judges will score each of the Video Submissions. The four (4) highest scoring Video Submissions in the three (3) school categories (elementary, middle/junior high, and high school) will be selected as the twelve (12) Finalists, and will go on to the Public Voting round.

The Public Voting round will determine the two (2) top Winners in each  of the three (3) school categories (elementary, middle school/junior high, and high school), for a total of six (6) Winners. 

The judges will select the twelve (12) Finalists that will go to the Public Voting round based on the following criteria:

  • Potential to impact the target audience
    • Video Submissions should be educational, inspiring, and memorable.
    • Video Submissions should be useable by Sponsor in its outreach activities.
    • Video Submissions should be easy for Sponsor to use in both online and other media outlets.
    • Creativity and Originality
      • Video Submissions should use creative and original methods and approaches to convey the message.
      • Video Submissions should demonstrate creative ways that students are tackling the problem of childhood hunger or an innovative idea they have that would contribute to the goal of ending childhood hunger in America.
      • Clarity and Quality of Message 
        • Video Submissions should clearly demonstrate activities that students are taking part in or ideas they have to help end childhood hunger in their school or community.
        • The flow of Video Submissions should be logical and easy to follow.
        • Graphics, audio and dialogue should be relevant to the topic of childhood hunger. 
        • Production Quality
          • Audio quality – dialogue should be easy to understand.
          • Visual quality – visual effects should contribute rather than detract from the underlying message.
          • Editing should be smooth and coherent

In the event of a tie for selection of the twelve (12) Finalists, the Finalists will be selected based on the judging criteria in this order: potential to impact the target audience, then creativity and originality, then clarity and quality of message, and finally, production quality.

If there is still a tie to determine the twelve (12) Finalists, the tie-breaking decision will be made by a vote of the judges.

Odds of being selected as a Finalist depend on the number of eligible Submissions received and the quality of Submissions. The approximate dates for the screening, judging, and selection of Finalists are between January 2, 2012 and January 20, 2012. 

7.         Display of Finalists and Public Voting

The twelve (12) Finalists selected by the judges will be posted on http://endhunger.challenge.gov to be voted on by the public. The public will vote on which Video Submissions they feel best represent a solution for reducing childhood hunger. Two (2) Winners for each of three (3) school categories (elementary school, middle school/junior high school, and high school) will be determined by the number of votes received during the public voting period. The public voting period will begin on approximately January 23, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT and will end on approximately February 17, 2012 at 11:59 PM EDT.

The public is eligible to vote for their favorite Video Submission(s) out of the twelve (12) Finalists in the Ending Childhood Hunger Video Contest. Each person can only vote for a Video Submission once, but may vote for more than one Video Submission out of the twelve (12) Finalists.

In the event of a tie during the public voting, the tie-breaking decision will be made by a vote of the Sponsor’s judges based on the judging criteria in this order: potential to impact the target audience, then creativity and originality, then clarity and quality of message, and finally, production quality.

8.         Entry Conditions and Release

By entering, each Contestant agrees to: (a) comply with and be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor which are binding and final in all matters relating to this Contest; (b) release and hold harmless the Sponsor, and its respective parent, subsidiary, and affiliated entities, and all of their respective past and present officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives (collectively, the "Released Parties") from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liability, including but not limited to negligence and damages of any kind to persons and property, including but not limited to invasion of privacy (under appropriation, intrusion, public disclosure of private facts, false light in the public eye or other legal theory), defamation, slander, libel, violation of right of publicity, infringement of trademark, copyright or other intellectual property rights, property damage, or death or personal injury arising out of or relating to a Contestant’s entry, creation of a Video Submission or entering of a Video Submission, participation in the Contest, (including any travel or activity related thereto) and/or the broadcast, transmission, performance, exploitation or use of any Video Submission; and (c) indemnify, defend and hold harmless the Sponsor from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liabilities (including reasonable attorneys fees), arising out of or relating to a Contestant's participation in the Contest.

9.       Publicity

Except where prohibited, participation in the Contest constitutes Finalists’ and Winners' consent to Sponsor's and its agents' use of Finalists’ and Winners’ name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions, and/or hometown and state for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration.

The twelve (12) Finalists and nine (9) Winners may be featured on the Sponsor’s web site, USDA related web sites, partner websites, press releases, newsletters, and events at the Sponsor’s sole discretion, without further payment or consideration.

10.       General Conditions

Sponsor reserves the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Contest, or any part of it, if any fraud, technical failures or any other factor beyond Sponsor's reasonable control impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the Contest, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. Sponsor reserves the right to not select the total number of possible Finalists and/or Winners if enough of the entries do not meet the evaluation standards. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual or Contestant it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or any other promotion or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner. Any attempt by any person to deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. Sponsor's failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. Sponsor is not responsible for, nor is it required to count incomplete, late, misdirected, damaged, unlawful or illicit votes, including those secured through payment, votes achieved through automated means or by registering more than one e-mail account and name, using another Contestant's e-mail account and name, as well as those lost for technical reasons or otherwise.

11.       Limitations of Liability

The Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by Contestants, printing errors or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest; (2) technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; (3) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Contest; (4) technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Contest or the processing of entries; or (5) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from Contestant's participation in the Contest or receipt or use or misuse of any award. If for any reason a Contestant's entry is confirmed to have been erroneously deleted, lost, or otherwise destroyed or corrupted, Contestant's sole remedy is another entry in the Contest. No more than the stated number of awards will be made.

12.       Disputes

Contestant agrees that: (1) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Contest, or any awards made, other than those concerning the administration of the Contest or the determination of Winners, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action; (2) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Contest, or any awards made, shall be resolved exclusively in an appropriate judicial or administrative forum of the United States; and (3) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering this Contest, but in no event attorneys' fees. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of the Contestant and Sponsor in connection with the Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the United States Federal Government, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules, which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the United States Federal Government.

13.       Privacy

If you choose to provide the Sponsor with personal information by registering or filling out the entry form through the website, that information is used to respond to you in matters regarding your Submission and/or the Contest only. Information is not collected for commercial marketing.

The names of the twelve (12) Finalists submitted for public voting will be announced publicly as part of the public voting process.  The names of the nine (9) Winners will be announced publicly as part of the award recognition process.