Did you know 1 in 5 children in the United States don’t get enough to eat? That’s 18,000 school busses full of kids. Or if, in this season of gridiron rivalries, football metaphors do it for you, 223 football stadiums full of fans.
I live and work in cities —Bridgeport CT and New York — but most of the poverty I see in my daily commute is the adult variety. While I know that child hunger is a problem in America, it’s largely intellectual knowledge. For many, myself included, we aren’t as motivated to take action when something isn’t tangibly real. We give to the charities that impact the people around us, or that have helped personally at some time in our lives.
In our comfortable middle-class lives, it’s hard to even understand hunger. Real hunger. Not just “skipped lunch” or “fasting for a colonoscopy” hungry.
Unilever Project Sunlight aims to change all that by giving us both the tools we need to better understand childhood hunger, and with its downloadable #ShareAMeal toolkit, concrete suggestions for ways we can help, including:
- help a family in your own neighborhood by hosting a community potluck or sending an extra lunch to school with your child;
- volunteer at a local food bank;
- host a virtual food drive;
- make a donation to Feeding America.
Get your kids involved.
A good way to make hunger — real hunger — more tangible for them while you help families in need in your community is to do the same activity as the kids in the Hatch Project Hunger video above. Set a budget, say $40, and go food shopping for a family of four for a week, then donate the food to your local food bank. Be sure to check in advance for any restrictions; some organizations aren’t equipped to handle too many perishables, and may prefer dry or canned goods.
Start by watching the Hatch video with your kids, and downloading the #ShareAMeal toolkit, and then talk it over with them. How would they like to help?
In my family, we are going to start with a donation to Feeding America. If that’s all you have time for right now, please join us! It’s what we can do, right now, and that’s better than waiting to do anything until you have more time to volunteer. I’d love to hear what you’ve decided to do in my comments.
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 with a family in need and donating food and canned goods to local food banks.