Share Our Strength®, the nation’s leading nonprofit working to end childhood hunger, encourages bakers everywhere to take their extra day in 2012 – Leap Day – and make it  count by committing to host a bake sale to help end childhood hunger. Individuals and groups sign up to host bake sales in their local communities and send the funds they raise to support Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® Campaign. The ninth annual Great American Bake Sale, presented by Domino Sugar®, C&H Sugar® and Duncan Hines®, officially launches on February 29 and runs through the end of the year.

In addition to the leap year launch, the Great American Bake Sale will hold its National Challenge Weekend April 20-22, with a goal of hosting 500 bake sales – at least 10 in every state – in one weekend. The first 300 bake sale hosts to submit $275 or more from bake sales held on National Challenge Weekend will receive a Jay at Play’s Little Miss Muffin Pop N Flip™ toy, a 9” doll tucked inside rubber muffin cups, to thank them for their efforts.

“With one in five kids in America struggling with hunger, it’s more important than ever to get involved and help connect children with the food they need,” says Great American Bake Sale Director Amy Crowell. “It’s one of the simplest and most enduring fundraising ideas around. Every year, we see families, kids, businesses, churches and organizations of every kind signing up to host sales and raise money to help make sure that every child in the U.S. gets the food he or she needs.”

Since 2003, more than 1.2 million people have participated in the Great American Bake Sale, raising more than $8 million—funds Share Our Strength uses in a variety of ways, from working with Federal and state governments and local nonprofits to make sure that children and parents at-risk of hunger are using the nutrition programs they’re eligible for; to educating families about how to plan, shop for and prepare the affordable, healthy meals; and advocating for change that will end childhood hunger in America.

“Every bake sale brings Share Our Strength one step closer to ending childhood hunger in America, whether it raises $50 or $5,000,” Crowell says. “Our online Bake Sale Resource Center Click Here provides tools and ideas for making every bake sale as successful and fun as possible. Bakers will find planning checklists, templates for flyers, tips on location, pricing and photography and more all online. They can also be part of the bake sale community and share photos and experience from their individual or group events on our Facebook page.”

Visit www.GreatAmericanBakeSale.org for additional information or, to get started right away, go to www.GreatAmericanBakeSale.org/signup .