We all know that without proper nourishment our bodies can gain a host of problems, some of them being a “weakened immune system, physical and mental stunting, [and an] increased risk of diabetes.”
Hunger can be caused by many different things; living in a food desert, poverty, climate change or natural disasters to name a few. In the US alone, one in six children goes hungry every day. In my opinion, it’s the children that are most vulnerable because they don’t have the ability to gain access to the many social programs in place to help defeat their hunger without an adult.
In order to help the children in America who struggle with hunger, there is a program called No Kid Hungry based in our nation’s capital. At No Kid Hungry, there are multiple programs already in place to ensure children are receiving the nourishment their bodies and minds need to grant them success.
The programs are:
1. School Breakfast
Many kids do not get the chance to eat a healthy breakfast before heading off to school in the morning. Without a proper breakfast, children struggle to focus in school and therefore their grades can be impacted negatively. Since the launch of the school breakfasts with No Kid Hungry, 2.8 million additional children are being served breakfast at the beginning of the school day with their classmates.
2. Summer Meals
Children who rely on discounted or free school lunches to fill their bellies often times struggle to continue receiving proper nourishment during the summer when school is no longer in session. As a result, No Kid Hungry has implemented the Summer Meals program where children can receive free meals at schools and community centers all summer long. However, some sites have limited hours of operation, can be difficult to get to, or may be closed during severe weather. In order to help make meals available to every child at every time of day no matter the circumstances, No Kid Hungry is working to introduce mobile meals delivery.
3. Afterschool Meals
Children who come from impoverished families and neighborhoods often times only have access to the free lunch they receive at school, making it their first and sometimes last meal of the day. With Afterschool Meals children are guaranteed to go meals to be satisfied.
4. Food Skills Education
Although school meals are helping children, one of the best ways to help them is to educate their parents and guardians on “how to shop for and cook healthy affordable meals.” In order to educate the public in different ways (no one learns the same) the Food Skills Education programs teach through the use of “interactive grocery store tours, hands-on cooking classes, smartphone apps and other resources – all free, and all run through trusted local community programs.” Through the program, a staggering 464,000 families have learned how to shop smarter and cook healthier.
All of these programs are amazing on their own right, but it takes more than just offering these programs in select cities to truly end childhood hunger. How can you help? Well, for starters you can make a donation. You can also be an advocate and if you're a parent or teacher, you can work on bringing No Kid Hungry to your community. You can start a fundraiser, attend an event, and speak up for kids by contacting your local and national government officials to protect the programs already in place such as SNAP.
So, how will you help?