What does your summer typically look like? Ours changes each year as the kids get older. When they were little, summer was just another range of dates on a normal calendar. Nothing special. Some years, we travel a little while last year our focus was an extension of swim team netting a trip to the state meet to cap it off. This year, the kids have each been involved in camps, track team and music lessons. We make our own breakfasts and lunches then sit down for a healthy dinner as a family as often as possible.
Summer meals for us are pretty similar to the rest of the year. Never really a concern. I guess we’re lucky that way. During the school year, the church collects food donations from the religious education students to help with their “Backpacks with Snacks” program. They fill backpacks with a variety of snacks and foods then send them home from school with underprivileged kids (based on recommendations from the local police department.) The stories are sad about how bare the cupboards are as the end of the month nears. Those same kids are usually the ones with reduced or free meals through the schools. Unfortunately, when summer rolls around, those resources disappear or aren’t as easy for them. The number of kids who have limited access to the free or reduced price meals they receive during the school year is astonishing – something like 90%. So for those kids… summer meals are dramatically different than the rest of the year. Can you imagine what your summer would be like if you were perpetually hungry? How can a kid be a kid – running and playing and being care-free when they are lacking the most basic of needs.
But what is a child to do? Ask their parents for more food? It’s unlikely that is an option. That’s why ConAgra Foods is working on an initiative called “Hunger-Free Summer“. It is a program where the company gives monetary grants to Feeding America food banks to help fund their summer programs – in turn, helping to ensure that kids and families are not left hungry. This summer, 26 food banks in 18 states will use Hunger-Free Summer grants, funded by the ConAgra Foods Foundation – ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 – to expand their summer feeding program, bringing more healthy meals to more children during these difficult months. Each year, the initiative with Feeding America sets higher goals, too. The program – now in its fifth year – has supported the delivery of 3.8 million meals to children struggling with hunger over the summer.
My kids are strong, healthy, intelligent individuals. We often talk about important issues such as food, proper eating, healthy weight, exercise, money management and even philanthropy. Sometimes we discuss these things over dinner, sometimes while out and about, other times at bedtime. When the opportunity arises to open up the channels of communication with our children, we do. Having educated kids not only prepares them for future good-decision making but also gives them the ability to help others when they can.
As individuals who don’t have to experience those unwelcome hunger pangs, we can volunteer our time or make food or monetary donations to the local food pantry or to programs like the one offered through the church. However, we’re also able to help right from the comfort of our chair or at the touch and swipe of our electronic devices. From now until July 31st, for each view, like or share of this video, it triggers donations. How easy is that? A great message from an incredible spokesperson, Kid President.
Kids should be able to play ball, tag, four square, ride bikes, be creative with sidewalk chalk and do all the other things that childhood allows. Jump at the chance to support this great cause… Please take a few minutes to watch the video and share it.