It was only 10 years ago that my husband was in college. We were a young married couple with two kids. Our finances were drained and stretched as I was a sahm. We had rent bills, college bills, two kids and the normal everyday financial needs. Having enough food was a constant battle for us. We never said a word when our entire food supply consisted of only one bag of pasta in the pantry. But, food always came at the perfect time.
I cannot tell you the countless times someone offered to take our family out to dinner or brought over bags of groceries. There were also times when someone would say, “Come with me. I want to take you to the grocery store — here’s $100 to spend.” Those moments were often tear-filled as I saw our needs met again by caring, involved people in the community.
As moms, our hearts are torn when we read about kids or families struggling with the basic necessity of food. How can we, as moms, make a difference and fight child hunger? We can start one meal at a time.
One of my favorite movies of all time is the classic portrayal of Little Women from the 1940s. I can’t help thinking about the four daughters as they woke up to a table full of Christmas goodies — a breakfast they hadn’t enjoyed in years. But, once they found out that six children were suffering from hunger just a few doors down, two sisters decided they didn’t want to eat. One sister spoke up and said, “People are hungry all over the world.” But then my favorite character, Jo, spoke up and said, “Those people are across the world; these people are next door.” What did those girls do? They packed up their breakfast and took it to those six hungry children.
Sure, it’s a fictitious story, but the moral of the story rings clear. We can’t stop child hunger all by ourselves, but we can make a difference — one meal at a time.
Today, our family has plenty to eat. We enjoy lots of homemade meals and look forward to a HUGE Thanksgiving meal on Thursday.
Naturally, it’s difficult for my children to grasp the concept that there are children hungry all around them. We often encourage our children to save any food that was uneaten from our meal so we can re-use it later. The more we save on food, the more we are able to share with others. In fact, we are going to give out cookies to our entire neighborhood next week!
Do you want your kids to be involved in the fight against child hunger? Let them experience the joy themselves that comes form sacrificing for others. Don’t just plan and hand out meals, let your kids help prepare the meals, pack them and be by your side when you deliver them with a smile.
You can make a difference — maybe not on the entire world, but one child at a time.
Recent studies of child hunger tell us this:
- 16 million children struggle with hunger each year—that’s the population of Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago combined.
- 3.8 million households were unable to provide adequate, nutritious food for their children.
- 37 states reported that more than 20% of children live in food insecure households.
- 22 million children in the U.S. rely on food stamps as their primary resource to acquire food.
- 93% of food insecure families in the U.S. live in stable, non-temporary housing.
How can you change child hunger one meal at a time? Project Sunlight and I have a few ideas to get you started. Check them out below!
- Pack a child’s lunch. You can give the extra lunch to your child’s teacher to hand out to a child with little to eat.
- Offer to take a family out to dinner. Very few people will turn down a free restaurant meal! Choose a kid-friendly place that will make the child in need smile.
- Surprise a family with a meal. I have been able to do this several times, and it meant way more than you can imagine. Pack a main course, sides, bread, drinks and desert. Make it a memorable meal!
- Organize a potluck. Know some families in need? Grab some friends, neighbors and family and offer a potluck for everyone to come over and enjoy a meal together!
For more information, meal ideas, and other tools to fight hunger, be sure to visit Project Sunlight. You and your family can make a difference!
About SheKnows’ Hatch, the Hatch Hunger Project and Unilever Project Sunlight:
SheKnows’ Hatch teamed with Unilever Project Sunlight to help families build awareness and take action around child hunger in America. The facts are startling: 16 million kids living in the United States don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That equates to one in every five children – enough to fill 18,000 school buses and 223 football stadiums. On average, those who live in food-insecure households have only $36.50 to spend on groceries every week. That means that 80 percent of children may not understand the everyday struggle their peers – many of whom could be their own friends or neighbors – confront when there’s not enough food on the table. The Hatch Hunger and Project Sunlight video and workshop aims to create empathy by showing kids what it means to shop for healthy, filling meals for an entire week on a thrifty budget. It teaches important math and teamwork skills. Finally, it is about action, empowering kids to have a positive impact on their community to Share a Meal. You can learn how to do that here. http://goo.gl/6fzKHQ