EF Cares: Kids and Food Insecurity

Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry
Image via Flickr/Bob B.Brown

Imagine being a kid who was hungry or worried about food most of the time. Imagine leaving school on a Friday afternoon with the knowledge that the lunch you had in the school cafeteria that day was quite possibly the most complete meal you would have all weekend until you came back on Monday morning. 

As a child, I remember worrying about food. I remember being nine years-old, going to the fridge and the pantry finding very little to eat, not knowing when more food would be added to our home. Slice of cheese here, peanut butter toast there to make the hunger subside. We made it all work and I always knew that I wasn't as bad off as some children were, because while I had times where it was very apparent we didn't have much, I don't recall going hungry to the point of discomfort.  I don't remember ever being so hungry that I couldn't think straight in school, but perhaps that was because I had free lunch, and later free breakfast. But, those periods of time where I experienced food insecurity – that feeling of not knowing where our next meal would come from – they have stayed with me to this day.

So imagine if that was your reality all. the. time… 

…year. after. year. 

1 in 5 children in America live in households that lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis. 

That is what we're talking about here folks. We're not talking about another country with less resources than ours. Most people assume hunger isn't a relevant issue in a country like the United States, but it truly is, and even more so in recent years when we've been experiencing a recession.  

Consider this: 

 In the United States:

  • 16.2 million children-live in households that lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis.  As a result, they struggle with hunger at some time during the year.
  • Since 2011, No Kid Hungry efforts have helped bring more than 35  million additional meals to kids in the U.S. who need them

We spoke with the folks at Share Our Strength, an organization working hard to provide for children and families and need, and Chuck Scofield the Chief Development Officer, put that 16.2 million number into perspective for us, which was, to put it simply, shocking. 

1 in 5 children in America live in households that lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis.

If you can't donate to Share Our Strength or dine out this month, simply share this post with your friends – that is helping. Using your voice for those in need can truly be a contribution in and of itself because spreading the word means more help, one way or another. 

Take a minute to let that sink in. That means, it is likely someone your child knows, that you know, or that you have come into contact with at your recent school open house is currently, or has dealt with food insecurity. 

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{MORE: EF Cares: The Ultimate Ugly Word}

Here at EverydayFamily, we have kids and families at the forefront of our mind all the time. We don't want them to have hungry bellies and we want them to be able to succeed in life. Part of that means thinking about their school goals rather than whether or not there will be a meal on the table this coming weekend. 

So, we'd like to introduce you to Share Our Strength because they are an organization that is working hard to provide for those children like my 9-year-old self. Whether it's for a family going through a short period of struggle or more long-term reality – Share Our Strength knows that children should not suffer through hunger – because they have more important things to do, like learn, and grow up healthy. So, we in turn want to help by spreading the word.

With this in mind, consider helping yourself by donating to their efforts or simply by spreading the word. One fantastic way to support this cause is to simply take your family out to dinner this month at a restaurant supporting Share Our Strength's month long Dine Out initiative. By dining out at a participating location, you are feeding your family, while feeding others. Check out the map here, and type in your zip code to see which of your favorite restaurants is joining in on this month-long effort to end child hunger in America.  

If you can't donate to Share Our Strength or dine out this month, simply share this post with your friends – that is helping. Using your voice for those in need can truly be a contribution in and of itself because spreading the word means more help, one way or another. 

You can listen to an interview EverydayFamily's Shiloh Johnson did with Chuck Scofield, Chief Development Officer of Share Our Strength and Hala Moddelmog, President of Arby's Restaurant Group here: No_Kid_Hungry_Everyday_Family

Does this charity resonate with you in some way? What charities speak to you that you would like to see us share with the EF community? 

 

What do you think?

EF Cares: Kids and Food Insecurity

Nicole Hempeck is a mom, military spouse and full-time marketing manager. She spends her days working hard to raise three strong daughters and manage the many ups and downs of life as a military family while also working her marketing magic for amazing family brands. Occasionally, you can still find her writing at her little spaces in the online world – Moments That Define Life and Trending Parent. ... More

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