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During the holiday season the spirit of giving is everywhere. Donations are made so everyone can enjoy a Thanksgiving meal, toys can be giving to children at Christmas and homeless men have a warm place to sleep at night. Our differences are forgotten and the community embraces one another.
That feeling slowly fades the further we get from the holidays. Our generosity declines, the sense of community is overshadowed by our individual needs and we forget that many in our community go without food at all times of the year. Food insecurity doesn’t occur only at holidays, its occurs year round.
The facts are scary. In 2009, 17 million children lived in food insecure households. According to Feeding America, 32% of pantries, 42% of kitchens, and 18% of shelters in their network reported “many more children in the summer” being served by their programs. Regardless of what you think about school lunches, for some children it provides the only meal they have that day. Once school is out for the summer, their access to food of any nutritional value is eliminated.
As a mother, my biggest fear is being unable to provide basic needs for my child. While I debate whether I should buy organic strawberries or peaches, other mothers are wondering when their children will have their next meal. Knowing how frightening and heart-wrenching that would be, I am making the pledge to donate to my local food bank not only during the holiday season but also during the times when the need is the greatest. You see, I’ve been there. As a child, there were times the refrigerator and cabinets were bare. Growing up in a blue-collar family where lay-offs were cyclical and job opportunities limited, there were times of where we experienced food insecurity. Back then I don’t think it had a fancy name but the feeling was the same: hunger.
I hope that you will also make a pledge to support your local food bank. You can find a list of food banks in your area by going to Feeding America and searching by state. I may not be able to eradicate childhood hunger by myself but if everyone who reads this blog makes event the smallest of contributions, think of the impact we can have. Small is BIG. My can of spaghetti o’s may not seem like much but all if all of my followers donate a can and so do their followers, well, that’s a lot of spaghetti o’s.