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Are you looking forward to the holidays? Many people, myself included, have a nice holiday meal. It’s yummy. Everyone sits around and eats and feels stuffed after the big meal, right? Wrong. Not everyone. While many of us are enjoying our holiday meal, there are many children in the US with nothing to eat. Imagine that. We look forward to several helpings of food and some children have nothing but an empty plate. It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it.
At the end of October I wrote a post sharing information about child hunger, a problem that is much bigger then some of us may have realized. Right now there are 16 million children in the US struggling with hunger. What a huge number! That number represents the population of Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago combined. The number is so big that it translates to a ratio of 1 in 5. In simplest terms, one out of every five children in America face hunger.With odds like that you have probably encountered, or know, a child struggling with hunger.
Unilever Project Sunlight is rallying people across the country to “Share A Meal” to help fight child hunger in America. Project Sunlight is a growing community of people that believes it is possible for everyone to thrive and no child be hungry. By sharing the messages and getting people involved we will take another step towards living sustainably and wiping out childhood hunger.
One way that we can help fight childhood hunger is by having a neighborhood potluck. The simplest way to do this is to invite a couple of families that you know. You would then ask those families to bring along a big dish and someone they know that might need a little help. It’s simple and it works. It has the power to help a couple of people in need that are directly in your neighborhood. I propose you take it to the next level.
You’re still having a potluck. Make sure you invite as many people that you know as possible. You know how in the summer some neighborhoods have block parties where all the families get together? And the families all invite their friends and families? Think like that. Have a neighborhood block party potluck. Yes you’ll still want each family to bring a dish. But there’s more. You’ll also ask each family to bring at least one item suitable for donation to the local food bank for each person that will be attending. So a family of four would bring their dish and four items suitable for donation to the food bank.
To some this sounds expensive. It isn’t. The foods that most local food banks really need are inexpensive, and in some cases you might even have them right in your pantry. It isn’t the brands that are important, it’s the food that’s important. If you don’t have them clip some coupons and/or watch for a sale and then take advantage and pick up items suitable for donation. It’s easy to find out what types of items food banks in your area are looking for, just check the Feeding America website. The food bank for my area always has a need for non-perishable food items including:
- ready-to-eat canned meals
- canned tuna
- canned fruits
- canned vegetables
- canned and dry soup
- canned juiced
- instant potatoes
- pasta and rice
- peanut butter
- hot and cold cereal
As everyone arrives place the items to be donated in boxes or bags. Make sure that everyone can see them, so they understand what little effort and money it takes to make a difference. After the potluck block party is over gather bring it all to your local food bank and donate it.
This idea of a neighborhood potluck works with any size group and could easily be implemented by any community organization or group.
“Going to Bed Hungry: The Changing Face of Child Hunger” is a touching and important 4-minute long documentary video.
Please share this post and the video above, in order to spread the word. Please join Project Sunlight and Feeding America in taking steps to help solve childhood hunger. No child should be hungry on any given day.
What are you going to do this year to help fight child hunger?