Join The Child Hunger Ends Here Campaign!

In such tough economic times, the number of hungry kids in America is expanding. Sadly, according to the USDA, one in four children doesn’t know where their next meal is coming from. Given a different set of circumstances, those hungry kids could be mine – or yours, so I’m thrilled to participate in ConAgra Foods and Feeding America’s new initiative, Child Hunger Ends Here Neighborhood Rally campaign. The program runs through May and seeks to mobilize everyday Americans to join the fight against child hunger.

I first understood the reality of child hunger in 1998 when I began teaching in Compton, California. 100% of my students came from low-income homes and received free breakfast and lunch.

What’s it like teaching kids that don’t always get enough food to eat? It’s heartbreaking because you really see how poor nutrition affects their ability to concentrate and perform well academically.

According to the Child Hunger Ends Here web site, hungry kids, “Are likely to have impaired cognitive functioning and diminished capacity to learn, and achieve lower test scores and overall school performance.” Ask any teacher who’s worked in a low-income area, and they’ll confirm this is true.

Unfortunately, there are no school-provided free meals for kids during vacation times or on snow days. After receiving three feet of snow during this past winter’s “Snowpocalypse”, Montgomery County, Maryland schools realized they needed to collaborate with a food bank to get meals to 43,000 low-income kids and families. A distribution center was set up in front of two neighborhood schools, and families braved massive snowdrifts to pick up canned food.

Can you imagine what would’ve happened to those kids if a thoughtful district employee hadn’t taken the initiative to make that food distribution happen? We can each be just as proactive in helping eradicate child hunger.

Here’s what we can do RIGHT NOW:

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be writing here on my blog and using my Twitter account to promote the efforts of the Child Hunger Ends Here Neighborhood Rally campaign. Link this post on your blog or re-tweet one of my campaign tweets. Use the hashtag #fightchildhunger and this trackable link -When you do $1 will be donated to the initiative in the name of Los Angelista (up to $100)!

The Child Hunger Ends Here Web site also has some great ways you can get involved. You can donate directly, fundraise in your town through homegrown community projects, or host a neighborhood rally (the site has a cool toolkit for this and they’ll send it to you to help you). In April, you can also bid on some items in the online celebrity rummage sale at Clothes Off Our Backs.

You can also make a difference every time you shop. Each time you buy one of seven ConAgra Foods brands , they’ll donate one meal to Feeding America.

Feeding America also works with more than 200 food banks nationwide so grab some of your friends or colleagues and go volunteer! Even the smallest effort (RT my tweets on this!) can help end child hunger. If we all work together, we can make a REAL difference and make child hunger something future generations only read about in history books!

*photo courtesy of Flickr user Scorpions and Centaurs
*I'm working with ConAgra Foods on this campaign but all thoughts in this post are my own!


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