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Hunger in America: One Girl’s Solution to Help Feed Those in Need

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Making a Difference—When I started to research the hungry in America, I felt like I was looking at numbers from a third world country. How can there be so many people going to bed hungry when we live in such an affluent country? Since 1980, the number of hungry Americans has nearly doubled to 38 million. Of those – 14 million are children (Source: There is enough food grown in the U.S., but why are people still hungry? According to Dr. Mariana Chilton, Founder of Witnesses to Hunger at Drexel University, there needs to be sincere, legislative change that needs to happen with policy makers. (Source:

More people are paying attention to this issue because of the recession, but it has been a problem for many years according to Dr. Chilton. Even in my own backyard, Orange County, California, there is a problem. Over 21 percent of the population is hungry – and children make up 35 percent of the hungry in Orange County. Pretty awful! The Second Harvest Food Bank has seen a large increase in the number of people who need food. (

One little girl, Isabel J, has proven once again, that one person can make a huge difference in the lives of many. A few years ago, at the age of eight, she wrote a story called Izzy and The Candy Palace about a precocious little girl who stops a well-meaning monster from burying her town in candy. Her mother, Michelle, said that it was a great story and maybe someday she could be a children’s book author. Isabel told her mom “that if I could publish this book, I would give all the money to feed the hungry.” Michelle decided she would try to see if they could make this happen. Now two years later, lots of hard work, and with the help of professional illustrator, J.H. Everett, this has become a reality.

100 percent of the book sale profits of Izzy and the Candy Palace benefit the Kids Café after school food program of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. To put this is perspective – the sale of just one book provides 27 meals for hungry children. I spoke to Michelle the other day, and they were heading over to hand a check to the Director of the Food Bank a check for $48,839.50 from their efforts at the MMJ Foundation.

“Our objective was to create a top quality illustrated children’s book that would hold its own in any book store while offering an irresistible opportunity for the book buying public to effortlessly give back to their communities,” says Michelle Janavs. “Isabel’s story has given all of us who worked on this project an opportunity to have a significant impact on the lives of so many children who are unduly challenged by hunger and malnutrition. We have high hopes that this unique program will flourish nationwide and beyond.” (Source: MMJ Foundation Press Release).

I just love to hear about people who make such a huge impact on so many lives because they feel they can.  Please go to to learn more about how your children’s school could participate in raising money in your community.

What are simple ways to help raise awareness for the hunger problem in America? How can you help raise money to support and feed those in your community?

Melissa Northway is a mom, writer of children’s picture books, and has written a storybook app and book called Penelope the Purple Pirate. Her tomboy was the inspiration to write about a girl who likes to have adventures with her friends, and at the same time teach little ones the importance of treating others with kindness and respect. Penelope the Purple Pirate was chosen as a Top 10 Must-Have eBook by lilsugar of and as a Top 10 Educational iPad app by Digital Storytime. Penelope is available at the iTunes app store, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell’s Independent Bookstore, A Whale of a Tale, and other local bookstores. You can read more about Penelope and Melissa at:

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