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Talking To Children About Childhood Hunger
I shared with you in my last post how passionate I am about hunger issues here in America especially when it comes to children. Of course, I do my part but it never feels like enough.
My family and I have packed boxes of food for families before. We held a donation drive for canned foods through several of our Scout troops and even delivered them a few times.
The causes are good but I did wonder if my children really understood what it is that we were doing and where this food was going. Morever, did they understand that the person next to them in school could possibly not even be getting three meals a day?
We sat down to explain childhood hunger and shared the Chris O'Donnell video below. They had lots of great questions and really wanted to do more to help. When I shared that 1 in 5 kids are food insecure, it made my 8-year-old daughter cry. She was very upset thinking that some children (she may even know some) aren't getting the food that they need every day.
My son was also concerned and both kids wanted to know what they could do to help. When I told them that the majority of these children go hungry during the summer because they are not at school to get food, they really wanted to get involved and do what they could to help. We are planning to visit our Food Bank this week to see what they can do.
While 21.5 million kids rely on free or reduced-price meals during the school year, when school is out, only 2.3 million children participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). For the millions of kids who fall within that gap, summer does not mean a few months of fun and relaxation. It means they may be at risk of hunger.
Children may not have access to summer meal assistance programs for a variety of reasons:
– Low Awareness: Families may not know about the programs that are available in their area
– Geographic Barriers: Children may not be able to get to summer meal programs because of
– Limited availability of summer meal programs: Whether a lack of awareness of the federal a lack of transportation or because they live in rural areas program, or a lack of resources to operate feeding programs (volunteers, feeding sites and partners), these seasonal programs aren’t available in certain communities
Children struggling with hunger can often lose focus in school and lack the power to learn. Even if their hunger is only temporary, its impact can last a lifetime.
Kids who miss breakfast and lunch are more likely to be sick, absent or tardy, disruptive in class and inattentive. They also score lower on achievement tests.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2013 FROM CONAGRA
To draw awareness of this critical issue, ConAgra Foods Foundation declared May 23 “National Hunger Free Summer Day” – a time to recognize summer hunger and to ask organizations and individuals to step up and help fill the gap for children in need.
This summer, 29 food banks in 20 states will use Hunger-Free Summer grants – ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 – to overcome barriers.
As a father of five, actor Chris O’Donnell is joining ConAgra Foods to bring awareness to this issue. Chris worked with ConAgra Foods to develop a video and a simple way for others to join in the fight against child hunger. For every view, a meal is donated.
REMEMBER TO WATCH THE CHRIS O'DONNELL VIDEO:
GET SOCIAL WITH CONAGRA FOODS
Tweet with ConAgra Foods on Twitter and use the hashtag #HungerFreeSummer
This post is brought to you by ConAgra Foods and The Motherhood, and I've been compensated for my time. However, all opinions are my own.