I spend a good deal of every day thinking about food. If I’m not cooking it, I’m researching its health effects or writing about it or coaching people around the art and science of it. You could say food is my life.
Just a few short years ago I did not have such a healthy relationship with food and not for the reasons you might expect. Back then, money was tight. I mean, really tight. We were over-spent, underpaid and in debt up to our eyeballs. My husband worked but I no longer did and the money coming in was not enough. And yet, no matter the income, I still had three kids to feed.
It was all I could think about. How can I nourish my children who had done nothing to deserve this uncertainty? As a parent, from the day that baby comes into your life, feeding it is a central theme. You can imagine how awful it feels when your ability to do just that is challenged.
We were never in danger, but food was not abundant and while we are through those times now, I can still remember the fear. That’s not to say that today I still don’t budget my grocery-butt off, but I no longer spend nights afraid that I won’t be able to fill my babies’ bellies.
I am forever grateful for that fact and that gratitude is what drives me to work with families today.
That gratitude is also what compels me to take interest in missions like No Kid Hungry. Because, while we may have found our way, there are still too many families struggling to feed their children and that does still keep me up some nights. We grew up seeing pictures of hungry children on television and we were led to believe it was “over there”. Hunger was not something I was taught existed in my own place. As a teacher, I saw first hand the truth that hunger is here, right here, in America. It’s startling to see how many children are growing up hungry. One in five children.
One in five.
No Kid Hungry is a campaign from Share Our Strength and their mission is to end childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. The No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need to effective nutrition programs like school breakfast and summer meals and teaches low-income families to cook healthy, affordable meals through Cooking Matters. When I was in the classroom, my students came from varying backgrounds and some came hungry. We did all we could to take care of that at school and No Kid Hungry supports just that. All their work is accomplished through the No Kid Hungry network, made up of private citizens, public officials, nonprofits, business leaders and others providing innovative solutions in their own communities. This is the kind of stuff I love-organization to benefit the masses and protect them from the madness of bureaucracy. That’s my kind of group!
There are hungry kids out there, right outside your door. Thankfully, there are also a lot of incredible people working to make sure their hunger doesn’t last forever.
I’m mostly grateful for that.
Go check out No Kid Hungry and see what their up to. Who knows, maybe you’re part of the solution too.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.