Did you know that nearly 16 million kids each year are at risk of not getting enough to eat?? That’s more than I though. The hard part is that we don’t always see the face of hunger. While hunger and poverty often go together, families dealing with food insecurity aren’t always living on or below the poverty line. What is a “food insecurity”? A food insecurity refers to the lack of access to enough food to lead a healthy life style all of the time. These types of house holds may not be affected by this everyday, it may only happen a few times a month, say, when money gets tight before a pay check comes when families may need to trade off between buying enough food and paying their rent or mortgage. If a child goes to school with not enough to eat, there can be physical and academic implications. We all know how hard it is to think and concentrate when we miss a meal- imagine being a kid and having no choice in the situation?? It’s very sad.
I absolutely can relate to these statistics from personal experience. Growing up with a single mom, we often didn’t have enough to eat. I know what it was like to go to school with no breakfast in your belly and have minimal dinner that night. I feel so blessed that my kids do not have to experience that. Just because they don’t have to experience this, doesn’t mean I don’t want them to be oblivious to the fact that many kids are not as lucky. One simple way to get your kids to involved is to let them help you make a donation to a food bank!
If you took just a few dollars once a month, you could stock up on some sale items and make a trip over to one of your local food banks and really make a difference in someones life. Did you know that for every $1 donated to a local food bank, they can distribute enough food for over 4 meals? Your small gift can truly help your entire community.
Getting your kids involved can really make an impact in their lives. Instead of just you choosing some food and dropping it off, have your kids help you shop: what do they like to eat? What’s the best deal? What types of packaging would stand up better? Asking them help you will make them feel more involved in it. Then, gather your items and take a drive out to the food bank that serves your local community.
What kind of items should you bring? Here are some suggestions:
– Canned meats: Think beyond tuna & soup, which food banks get tons of. Instead go for canned beef, canned ham, canned chicken, canned salmon. Or hearty ready-to-go meals like beef stew and chili with meat.
– Canned vegetables: Everyone donates green beans. Instead, give potatoes, carrots, spinach, peas or any other veggies your family likes.
– Canned fruit: Not pineapple. This is the most commonly donated fruit. Any other fruit, particularly those in fruit juice without extra sugar, would be great. Dried fruit works too (raisins, etc.)
– Boxed meals THAT REQUIRE ONLY WATER. Hamburger Helper isn’t helpful if you don’t have hamburger.
– Low-sugar cereal like plain Cheerios
– Instant oatmeal, instant grits
– Cans of beans
– Pasta, pasta sauce
– Biscuit or baking mixes (again that only require water)
– Cans, cartons or boxes of powered and evaporated milk
– Snack items for kids to take to school: juice boxes, applesauce containers, granola bars
– Spices like cinnamon, oregano, basil, salt, pepper
– Sliced bread. It’s got a long shelf life but always goes immediately.
– Bags of apples or potatoes. Ditto.
Of course you can donate healthy and beauty items too and bathroom toiletries.
Another way to help is to support companies that promote ending hunger in families and kids. ConAgra Foods® has been committed to ending child hunger in America for nearly 20 years. This year, it’s their goal to put 3 million meals on the table for kids who are food insecure, one code and one meal at a time. It’s simple to support this movement! You can simply look for the red pushpin on specially marked packages before you buy, and then enter the code—it’s that easy.
To learn more about ConAgra’s Hunger Ends Here campaign, check out their site. To find a local food bank in your community, check out Feeding America, which will help you find the closest food bank to you so you can help out people that live near you.
So what is your favorite ways to get your kids involved in simple service ideas?
Disclosure: Thank you The Motherhood for sponsoring this discussion today!