Here at Smart Eating for Kids, we often write about the challenges of feeding our kids.
The challenges we write about are real challenges that parents face at every meal. But they are challenges for which we are extremely grateful.
Because when we talk about the struggles of getting our kids to eat the healthy food that we offer them, it means that we actually have healthy foods to offer them.
When we talk about how to address the never-ending question of “what can I make for dinner tonight?” it’s not because we don’t have options, it’s because we have too many options.
These are problems that we are lucky to have. Problems for which we are thankful.
Yet sometimes it can be difficult to find gratitude when we are caught in the day-to-day grind. After all, it’s tough to be appreciative when your daughter just spit out that homemade vegetable lasagna that you slaved over. Or when your son throws an epic tantrum because you have the nerve to put broccoli on his plate again.
The reality is feeding kids can be tough business.
But here’s another reality about feeding kids.
More than 16 million children in America struggle with hunger because their families lack the means to provide them with nutritiously adequate food on a regular basis.
16 million children. That’s one in five kids in America.
Here’s another reality.
When kids are hungry, they can’t live up to their full potential. It’s hard for them to concentrate. They have stomachaches, headaches. They struggle in school. They get sick more often. They are hospitalized more often.
These are things I know. I’ve read about them in textbooks. I’ve seen them in volunteer work. But they are not things that I’ve ever lived.
So when I saw A Place At The Table, a documentary that investigates hunger in America and proposes solutions, I was brought to tears.
When I think about those children, when I see the family’s stories, my kid’s tantrum about broccoli seems….well, like something to be grateful for.
Be Part of the Solution
I don’t pretend to be an expert on our nation’s economic state. But I think it’s pretty safe to say that things are broken. Our priorities are messed up. Sixteen million kids should not be hungry. No kid should be hungry.
In order to help raise awareness about childhood hunger, The Giving Table has organized 200 bloggers (including Smart Eating for Kids) to write about ways in which we all can make a difference.
Here are just a few ideas:
1. Write to Congress to urge them to protect the funds that support the programs that help feed our nation’s hungry kids and families.
2. Volunteer your time with a local organization that is helping to combat hunger in your community.
3. Reduce your personal food spending and then donate your savings to Share Our Strength, an organization which connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals.
4. Help fuel awareness about childhood hunger. Read the other blog posts on the issue. Talk about it with other families, at play dates, at your child’s school. Urge your friends to be aware and to participate in effort to end child hunger.
And, if nothing else, next time your kid spits out his broccoli, be grateful.