Follow the End Childhood Hunger blog - http://endchildhungerblog.org/ - to keep up on statistics and solutions to end hunger for kids in our lifetime. Alarming new post on the new Census data about hunger here.
Today is the first #twitterforfood event on Twitter for 2011. 1000's have skipped a meal during these events and used the savings to fund their local food bank or hunger organization.
Won't you join us today with this small act of connection with those that are hungry and experience in a very small way what they experience every day? Skip any meal and go directly to your hunger organization's website and donate the savings - $5, $10, $20 will do much more than you think in helping to feed those near you and across the globe.
This month we'll be highlighting those who feed school children. Many kids just get one meal a day from school, but there are many before and after school programs that are working to give these kids a chance at 3 meals a day. You can help, find one in your area!
If you don't know of a hunger site to donate to, there is a list of food banks and hunger organizations in the column on the right. They are sorted by region so you can easily find on at least in your state - or go international!
Also post on twitter about us:
"Skip a meal with #twitterforfood and use the savings to fund hunger relief! http://www.twitterforfood.com"
Or create your own post with your local food bank's website.
We live in a very privileged country so it is difficult for many of us to comprehend that people in our country are starving. It is especially difficult for children to grasp this concept. When we would turn up our noses at a particular food item during a meal, my parents would say to us, 'there are people starving and you are being wasteful.' Feeling remorseful that we didn't appreciate what we had, we would eat the offensive item. Now when I try to use that tactic on my youngest son, he tells me to send whatever it is to the people who are starving because he is not going to eat it! He simply cannot grasp how blessed he is. But recently he had an up-close-and-personal experience that changed his heart.
My church does a food drive every year prior to Thanksgiving and then the week before Thanksgiving the meals are delivered to needy families. This year my husband and two of my children also signed up to help deliver the meals. My kids were excited to be a part of something that helped benefit others. My teenage daughter was especially excited because she has participated in a 30-hour famine for the past three years and has raised thousands of dollars through her efforts to help fight hunger. One year, while in the midst of the famine, the group went to a soup kitchen and served meals. She said that was very difficult. But what was even harder, according to her, was the fact that she felt she could sustain her fast because she knew that at the end of the 30 hours, she would be fed a feast. She said it is difficult knowing that for many people throughout the world, even after 30 hours of starvation, they have no feast to look forward to and no hope of that feast ever coming.
When my family delivered the meals this year my husband said that it was a very humbling but sad experience. He said they delivered to an eclectic group of people – some of whom you would never guess would have fallen on hard times. Many would not let him enter their homes. Some were angry and irritated that he had intruded on their privacy. They all knew the meals were coming and, in fact, had signed up with a local church to receive assistance. Why were they reacting so strangely? Perhaps it was because they were embarrassed. My husband thought it was sad that some felt humiliated and embarrassed that they needed help and he did everything possible to try and make them feel comfortable as the food was being delivered.
My youngest son realized that there were real, hurting people right here in our community. He also realized that you can't put a face on hunger. The people he met were just like him. Except for the fact that they would gladly have eaten broccoli and sweet potatoes on those days when their cupboards were bare and their stomachs were empty!
Kathy Rothaar is a freelance writer who lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and three kids.
The number of people needing a meal grows during the winter months. This year will be a busy one for your local food bank. Trying to meet the needs of so many who have lost jobs and are hungry can be overwhelming, especially during the holidays.
Many food banks and shelters are overwhelmed with volunteers wanting to "do good" during the holiday season which is noble and right, but not always practical. What they need most is your support all year long and mainly cash during the winter to fund the expenses of more heat and more lights and more people coming for help.
Consider skipping a meal with us today and giving the savings (and some extra) to your local food bank or shelter. Better yet, make your New Year's resolution one you can actually accomplish this year - join twitterforfood.com all year and fund your local food bank consistently with monthly donations!
You can make a difference locally. There are people you meet every day that look just like you that can't afford a good meal. Be the difference in their lives.
Start today by skipping one meal (or just one cup of coffee) and giving the money you save to your local food bank. Do it as a family, as a youth group, as a business. Doesn't have to be today, pick your own twitterforfood day and spread the word.