No Kid Hungry: Help End Child Hunger
For the month of September, many organizations are coming together to focus on raising awareness for child hunger, including "No Kid Hungry" and "Feeding America." Mom It Forward is excited about having the opportunity to share some of the ways each of us can make a difference.
The Facts About Child Hunger in the US
Hunger has a huge effect on America's children. It prevents them from reaching their full potential. If we don't help make changes now, we are going to have a huge epidemic on our hands.
- In the United States, more than 16 million kids live in households that struggle to put food on the table.
- Nearly 22 percent of kids under the age of 18, or approximately 16 million, live in poverty.
- 9.8 million kids, get free or reduced priced school breakfast. On an average day, 10.6 million eligible kids go without.
- Only 1 in 7 kids who get free or reduced meals during the school year also receive free summer meals.
- Hunger has a huge negative effect on how a child performs in school.
Getting Up Close and Personal With Child Hunger
Growing up, we never had to worry about where our next meal would come from. But my parents were intent on helping me learn at a young age to appreciate what we had and to help those who were in need.
When I was 12 years old, I had the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to visit a friend and her family in Costa Rica for 6 weeks. My parents, recognizing that I could have more opportunities than just playing with my friend, sat me down and talked to me about those less fortunate in that country. I embarked on planning a bake sale and together with my girlfriends in Arizona, raised $30. I thought it was a huge amount of money and was excited to be able to buy a few items for a family in need once I arrived in Costa Rica.
When I got there, my friend's mom took me all by myself to the grocery store with her. She said the money I raised was enough to provide food for three families. She taught me about the staples traditional to Costa Ricans: beans, rice, sugar, and other products. She explained to me that by making everything from scratch, the families could use these supplies to eat for upwards of 6 months. I was trying to make sense of that in my 12-year-old mind, but it wasn't until I entered the homes of my friend's mom's friends from church that I got up close and personal with hunger.
When we entered the homes, my friend's mom hugged her friends and explained about our bake sale. I became keenly aware of the differences in our circumstances and realized that I could just as easily be in a similar situation as theirs. Fortunately, they were gracious and so appreciative of receiving a gift of food from a total stranger. I walked away feeling like they gave me the greater gift--their time, their kindness, and their love. More importantly, they taught me a valuable lesson that people's circumstances may be different, but we are all human beings and here to help each other... just in different ways.
I returned home from Costa Rica with one big question: "If people in Costa Rica experienced hunger, were there people in the US facing the same problem?" It didn't take long to learn the unfortunate truth that yes, people struggle with similar challenges of hunger all over the world.
Actions We Can Take to End Child Hunger
This month is "Hunger Action Month", and we have the opportunity to raise awareness for children who are going without food. Here are a few ways each of us can make a difference.
- Take the time to educate yourself. There are many programs out there on the internet that can give you ideas on how you can help to fight hunger. Through the Cooking Matters program, the "No Kid Hungry" campaign educates and empowers low-income families to stretch their food budgets so their kids get healthy meals at home.
- Raise awareness in your social circles. Part of the way you can make a difference is to share information. Spread the word on Facebook. 1 in 6 people struggle with hunger. Tell your Facebook friends that you are joining with "Feeding America", helping those people in need. Spread the word on Twitter. Over 50 million Americans struggle to get enough to eat. Let your followers know how @FeedingAmerica is helping our neighbors.
- Donate a meal. Did you know that when you donate $1 you can feed 8 people? For less than $10 you can feed an entire family a meal. You can also donate to your local food bank.
- Hold a bake sale and donate the proceeds. "No Kid Hungry" has some great ideas for how you can raise money by holding a local bake sale.
For more information about about how you can make a difference, visit these websites:
What can you do to help fight child hunger?
Share Resources from the Moms Fighting Hunger Blog Hop
A number of mom bloggers have joined together to promote ideas for fighting hunger. Please link up any related posts you have and share ideas to help bring attention to this important cause. Here are the blogs where you can find inspiration and ideas throughout the month:September 8 The Good Long Road Kids Stuff World September 9 Kid World Citizen September 10 Inner Child Giving San Antonio Mom Blogs September 11 ButeauFull Chaos September 12 Bits of Positivity September 13 LatinoAmeriGringa September 14 Your Sassy Self September 15 Not Going Postal September 16 All Done Monkey September 17 Multicultural Kid Blogs September 18 Pennies of Time September 19 Coffee Cups and Crayons September 20 Red White & Grew September 21 MomitForward September 22 September 23 Edventures with Kids September 24 A Thrifty Diva September 25 Crafty Moms Share September 26 The Pleasantest Thing September 27 Frogs & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails September 28 Optimistic Heathen September 29 Moments a Day September 30 Kids Stuff World