Post # 157 Hunger Doesn’t Take a Holiday

August 21, 2013 at 4:19 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 157 Hunger Doesn’t Take a Holiday

Summer is coming to an end, and kids are heading back to school.  By the end of this month, practically every child enrolled in school will be back within those hallowed walls.  They will be excited to be sitting at a new desk, meeting new friends, facing new challenges.  An extraordinarily high number of them will be happy to get regular meals again.

The school breakfast/lunch program in our country feeds over 20 million kids who might otherwise not have anything to eat.  It’s hard to believe in a country that leads the world in income and property that even one child could be hungry.  I was watching Chopped on Food Network the other day.  Occasionally, they do themed shows.  I love the themed shows because they raise an already crazy show to a higher level of crazy.  This was a repeat theme and featured “lunch ladies”, those under-rated school cooks who are in charge of feeding armies of hungry kids ranging in age from 4 to 18.  They typically have a non-existent budget and have to find ways to stretch their menus to provide healthy meals.  One of the ladies brought me to tears (and by the end of the show every single judge, contestant, host, and technical engineer, not to mention anyone watching was in tears) when she said that many of “her kids” give her a hug when they leave the cafeteria, thanking her for feeding them since they will have nothing when they get home.

Nothing from noon today until breakfast tomorrow.

You do that once.  Please.

Or better still, do that for a week, and don’t eat anything much on the weekend.  And try to study and learn and play and sleep.

I can’t stand the thought of anyone being hungry.  I have to maintain a “professional distance” from the problem or it overwhelms me.  I have to keep reminding myself that I’m doing what I can.  I make certain that everyone who falls within my sphere of living has something to eat.  We donate to area food banks, and buy canned goods to give to donation sites all year long.  We buy those “feed the hungry” coupons when we’re at the register.

At the end of last May, I wrote post #122 and told you about childhungerendshere.com.  It’s a simple program and doesn’t cost anything.  You buy products that you would ordinarily buy anyway, but look for the ones that have a red push pin printed on them.  When you get home, look for the 8 digit code on the product, go the web site, and enter the code.  Just entering the code guarantees one meal for one child.  I’ve entered 90 since end of May, by my calculations.

There’s another program that’s even easier.  Have you heard of Dine Out for No Kid Hungry?  Go to the No Kid Hungry web site and look for the pledge for the Dine Out program.  Once you sign up (and it also gives you an opportunity to donate directly) it will give you a list of restaurants in your area who participate in the No Kid Hungry program.  Each restaurant has different promotions during the month of September, some donating part or all of a particular evenings sales, some allowing their patrons to add money to their bill to donate to No Kids Hungry.  I was at a restaurant in Virginia once whose wait staff donated all their tips for the day to No Kids Hungry.  Where we live now, one of our favorite restaurants is part of the program so I’m hoping we get to go at least three times to help out.

Childhood hunger is not going to end in our lifetime, and likely not ever going to end.  However there are things we can do to minimize it and its impact in the children of our country.

Thanks for letting me rant at you about this.

Oh, and as a BTW – on the Chopped episode, the winner won $10,000.  But Food Network felt so strongly about the work these ladies are doing they gave each contestant $5000.  For a large television network, it’s just a drop in the bucket.  For those lunch ladies, it was a huge surprise and a great gesture.

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