I only had about 30 minutes and, judging from the traffic building on my return route as I drove to Allison’s house, I was cutting it close even giving that much time. I considered turning back. But then I thought “If I don’t go do this, who will?”
What I was going to do wasn’t unpleasant. I was going to hang out with some members of my moms group while our kids played nearby and we were going to do community service. See, our group works with a local food bank to pack up Smart Sacks; bags of food that kids on Free and Reduced School Meals (FARMs) can take home over the weekend. Local grocery stores donate a selection of balanced food for kids to take home and community groups like ours fill bags and delivery them to schools. It’s usually rice and beans, canned tuna, packaged oatmeal, and canned veggies and fruits. It isn’t fancy and it isn’t a ton of food but it’s better than nothing. And for the 2,100 elementary school students per week this program serves in my county, nothing might be the other option.
It’s never easy to remember that in America 50,000,000 people go hungry every day. One in five children face hunger. It doesn’t make any sense that hunger is so rampant when grocery stores display eight different flavors of Triscuits and restaurant portions can easily feed two of three people at a time. And yet, there is hunger and hunger affects our kids.
Children in food-insecure homes can rely on FARMs for breakfast and lunch during the school year but when those meals aren’t served on weekends or doing school breaks, kids may not be getting meals at home. It’s critical for community members to step in and help. If you want to find a way to help feed kids in your area, check with your church or community organization or contact a food bank to find out about programs like Smart Sacks. Or you can donate to the virtual food drive I have open through Feeding America. It only take a minute to help a hungry family.