Food Insecurity

food insecurityThe USDA defines food insecurity as meaning “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.” Food insecurity occurs in every county in the United States. Hunger touches the lives of 15.8 million children.

40% of food is thrown out in the US every year, or about $165 billion worth. All of this uneaten food could feed 25 million Americans. (National Resource Defense Council)

3 out of 4 teachers see hungry children in their classrooms. (No Kid Hungry)

We should not have these statistics in our country.

Find an organization in your area that addresses childhood hunger and get involved. No Kid Hungry and Feeding America are great national organizations in the United States.

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This past Friday, Jodi Baron and I were able to visit a local organization that addresses food insecurity for kids. It is local to the West Michigan area, and we will be doing a service play group focused on them in December!

In Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Holland Kids’ Food Basket serves 7,000 kids at 38 schools. They send home sack suppers with kids that opt-in, providing nutritious meals for students after the school day is done.

In Ottawa County over 8,000 children live in poverty. At Holland Public Schools 400 families are homeless, and 70% quality for free and reduced lunch. In Holland, 600 kids at Holland Heights K-7 and Woodside Elementary are being given sack suppers through Kids’ Food Basket. Six schools remain on the waiting list to be served by Kids’ Food Basket.


How can you help? 

  • Sign up to volunteer here. Volunteers are needed for sandwich making, delivering sack suppers, and repacking snacks into mixes like cheerios, raisins, and goldfish. They allow families (kids five and up) to volunteer together. It would be a great way for youth groups to serve together. Groups can also decorate sack lunch bags!
  • To add schools and help them off the waiting list, three years of funds must be raised. Click here to host a fundraiser or a wish list drive.
  • Share this organization! You can follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Also, tell others about this way to serve, to ensure that children in our community do not go to bed hungry.






Planet Ark

mimi's village collage

Last week we read Mimi’s Village and talked about clean water, vaccinations, and global health care. We supported Shot@Life, a movement to protect children worldwide, by providing life-saving vaccines where they are most needed. We were able to support two children with a full vaccination set against polio, measles, diarrhea, and pneumonia. The kids were able to lift a jerry can partially full of water to get an idea of how heavy it is transport your own water.

We also had a stuffed animal vaccination clinic! Thank you Nurse Mackenzie, Nurse Ellie, Dr. Julie, and Dr. Rebecca for immunizing our favorite lovies!


Our last summer play group is this Tuesday, July 14 at 6:00pm at Kollen Park in Holland!

We will be reading the book Planet Ark.

Bring along $1.00 if you are able for fruit tree seedlings for families in Bangladesh through World Renew. Your purchase of a fruit tree seedling helps a subsistence farm family improve their land and grow fruit to feed their family and to sell for income.

We will have a nature scavenger hunt, leaf creatures craft, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, inflatable world volleyball, and egg and spoon relays.PlanetArkPlayGroupWe have had so much fun, we hope to combine forces and continue play groups for the West Michigan area past this summer! Make sure to join our Service Play Group Facebook Page to get all the updates as we make a difference together as a community! I’d love to partner with you, contact me with ideas 🙂



#TalkJustice Health Care


Kids #TalkJustice Access to Health Care

Access to health care is an issue that really affects everyone. Even when families have insurance they may lack funds for co-pays, or still be in need of secondary services like vision, dental, and specialists. Beyond debates, because there is probably no country that has found the one-hundred percent correct answer to access, how can we understand and support access to health care in our communities and globally. Globally the situation is even more desperate as access to the simplest care is out of reach for many.

Health Care Discussion Starters:

health care conversation starters

Help your family go deeper:

  • The cost of health care is staggering… who can you help with this burden? Do you know families you can support?
  • Discuss specific illnesses with children. Help them understand what might go into care, what special equipment you might need, how often you might have to visit the doctor.
  • Talk about parts of world where you might have to walk miles and miles to get to a health clinic. If you are bringing a sick family member what challenges might that bring?
  • Talk about needing glasses, but having no way to acquire them.
  • In disasters how important is health care? What things change in moments of crisis?
  • What might be different about doctors offices around the world?
  • The disease of malaria can be prevented by a simple bed net, yet many do not have access to that. What other sicknesses might be prevented by something simple (clean water, sanitation, clinics.)
  • Do you have a free health clinic in your area? Is there anyway you can support their efforts?
  • How can your family take care of its own health?
  • How do you think health care where you live compares to other places around the world?
  • How can you support efforts to help people have access to health care?
  • Do you think this might be an important cause for communities to think about?
  • If you know someone going through an illness or has a chronic illness how could you support their family? How could you support a classmate?
  • Talk about root causes of heath care disparities: race, local resources, location in the world, poverty, immigrant or refugee, women in parts of the world.

Kids Books about Health Care:

books about health careI Lost my Tooth in Africa by: Penda Diakite

Mimi’s Village By: Katie Smith Milway

Nest By: Esther Ehrlich

The Lemonade Club By: Patricia Polacco

The Fault in our Stars By: John Greene

The Heaven Shop By: Deborah Ellis

16 Ways to take Action: 

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A Health Care Twitter list to follow.

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.

What are your thoughts? 



Children’s Books about Homelessness

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Four Feet, Two Sandals By: KC Pathways  (A story of two girls in a refugee camp in Pakistan. Ages 6 and up) 

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Fly Away Home by: Eve Bunting (About a homeless boy and his father who live in an airport. Ages 6 and up.)

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Voyage to Shelter Cove by: Ralph Da Costa Nunez (A group of sea friends find shelter after their coral reef is destroyed. Ages 3 and up.) 











Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by: DyAnne DiSalvo (A book about an urban soup kitchen. Ages 5 and up.) 












Harry the Homeless Puppy by: Holly Webb (Introduce the concept of homelessness through this story. Ages 3 and up) 

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The Berenstain Bears Help the Homeless by: Jan and Stand Berenstain (Kids serving others. Ages 3 and up.)

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The Can Man by: Laura E. Williams (A young boy faces the reality of homelessness and offers an act of kindness. Ages 6 and up.) 

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December by: Eve Bunting (A book about a young boy, a cardboard house, and a Christmas angel. Ages 6 and up.)

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The Lady in the Box by: Ann McDonald (A boy and his sister care for a homeless lady near their apartment home.  Ages 6 and up.) 














A Shelter in our Car by: Monica Gunning (Zettie’s Mom is unable to find work and they must live in their car. Ages 6 and up)

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The Family Under the Bridge by: Natalie Savage Carlson (A book about a family who lives beneath a bridge and the man who befriends them. Ages 9 and up.)

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Ivy Homeless in San Francisco By: Summer Brenner (Children deal with the difficulties of poverty and homelessness. Ages 9 and up.)

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Esperanza Rising by: Pam Munoz Ryan (Esperanza and her Mama flee from Mexico to a California farm labor camp. Ages 8 and up.)

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Also Known as Harper by: Ann Haywood Leal (Harper, an aspiring poet, must deal with her family’s eviction notice. Ages 10 and up.)

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Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan (In India, 13 year old Koly defies fate after being sold for dowry. Ages 10 and up.)

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Selavi by:Youme (About street children without homes in Haiti. Ages 6 and up.) 

All About Proximity involving kids children’s books can be found at my Make a Difference Kids Books pin board on Pinterest.

Family Activities through the World Food Programme

The World Food Programme fights hunger worldwide.

One of the ways the World Food Programme contributes is by providing nutritious meals for kids in schools. They serve 26 million kids in 60 countries.


Meet students at the Huarimarca School in Bolivia! This is a great family activity.  Click here for the link.

  • Watch the video featuring Ximena (the communications coordinator and school children).
  • Type in your name and email. Write the students a message about you, and then ask them a question.

Do you have teenagers?

  • Try out Free Rice 2.o. This is an on-line vocabulary review, perfect for SAT prep. With each right answer, ten grains of rice is donated through the World Food Programme.

Are you or your family gamers?

  • Do you play Chefville? If you do your gaming can make a difference. Teaming up with Chefville, Zynga will donate 50,000 to the World Food Programme when the Chefville community serves up its billionth dish. Play games=make a difference.

Fun and Learn Activities:

  • Check out these fun and learn activities for students, teachers, and families here. 

Your family can make a difference, together!