I get as caught up in the holidays as anyone else. I love shopping, I love sales, I love buying and giving gifts. I’m one of those people who purchases industrial-sized rolls of wrapping paper (those huge rolls you see at the gift wrapping stations you see in department stores…really I do). I am, it turns out, a material girl.
But I’m also endlessly distressed, perplexed, and angry about how, in a country of so much, so many of our neighbors are not getting enough to eat. Really? How come? What the hell? And what should we be doing about this completely unacceptable state of things?
In our country, 1 in 5 (that’s over 16 million) kids face food insecurity every day. 48.8 million Americans—including those 16.2 children— live in households that lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis. As a result, they struggle with hunger at some time during the year.
The numbers are shocking. But here’s what shocked me more. My kids go to a pretty great school, in a nice section of NYC. They are lucky; food insecurity doesn’t even cast so much as a shadow on their lives. And it would be very easy to assume that this was true of all of their classmates – on the surface you would think that hunger issues would be very, very far away from any of their friends and schoolmates.
But a couple of years ago we found out differently. A single mom in our school, raising two kids, confessed to the school that she was not able to get enough food on the table to feed her kids. Our school has a great organization called Hestia, where families who need some sort of real help can anonymously register for assistance, and help will be – namelessly – provided. Parents were able to donate money and meals to this family to get them through a dreadful time. Hunger and homelessness are certainly connected, but the hard reality is that people who are sitting next to our kids at school, next to us on the bus, who are checking out our groceries, may well also be hungry.
This is not the time for soapboxing, for pointing fingers as to why this could happen in our country of plenty. There is certainly much to discuss in the areas of food waste, of food policy, of nutrition education, of access to the proper resources for those who need it. But in the meantime, we need to make sure our neighbors are fed, and fed now. I’ve been involved with Share Our Strength (also known as No Kid Hungry) for 25 years, and I’ve been on the Board of City Harvest for 11. It will be no surprise that those of us in the food profession care a lot about making sure that good food is not the exclusive privilege of just some.
I hope you will join me in making a donation this season to No Kid Hungry, who are determined to make sure that no kid in this country goes without. This #Giving Tuesday, your donation can play a huge part in making No Kid Hungry a reality. Hickory Farms and Kettle Brand are matching all donations up to $100,000, so every $1 you donate to No Kid Hungry can help connect a hungry kid with up to 20 meals. I am also matching the donations that come through my friends, up to $2000, so the math gets even better $1 = 30 meals! A $25 donation from you will provide 750 meals for a hungry child. Please make your donation here!
Want to know more? Here are some statistics and facts. But instead of shaking our heads in dismay and bewilderment, let’s be part of the change that so needs to happen. 25 bucks = 750 meals. That feels much better than just feeling mad and sad. I’d love it if you’d join me in this important fight.