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.

food basket

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.

 

 

 

 

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Talk Justice: Hunger

talkjusticeTalk Justice: Hunger

Hunger is something most kids will understand. Everyone can relate the feeling of a hungry tummy from time to time. We can broaden our kids understanding of true hunger by helping them learn about the people around the world that feel those tummy rumbles and don’t have access to a snack or meal like most of us do.

TalkHunger ConversationHelp your family go deeper:

  • If you didn’t have dinner would it be hard to sleep that night?
  • If you didn’t have breakfast would you have trouble concentrating in school?
  • How would you feel if you didn’t have a lunch to bring to school?
  • If you had a week where there wasn’t much food at home, would you begin to feel worried about having enough?

Talk about root causes of hunger:

  • wars
  • disasters
  • climate change
  • famine and floods
  • joblessness
  • rising food costs
  • poverty
  • inequality

Help older children understand common misconceptions about hunger:

  • WIC in the United States helps with supplementing woman, infants and children, school lunch programs, school breakfast programs, and summer lunch programs.
  • SNAP Myths and general information.

Whenever we talk to our kids about justice issues we can be positive, because there are so many ways we can help! Even though the topics can be heavy, we can make a difference, and that’s something to be excited about!

hunger booksKids Books About Hunger 

The Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by: Peter Menzel

Beatrice’s Goat by: Paige McBriar with Heifer International

One Hen by: Katie Smith Milway

The Good Garden by: Katie Smith Milway

 

21 Ways to Take Action!

We have a new Pinterest board called Kids #TalkJustice where I will be pinning many of the resources featured in this series.

Do you twitter? Here is a Hunger List to follow.

I really hope to hear from you all week long! Tell us about your conversations! What resources did you try? What did your kids teach you? 

Next Week… Clean Water and Summer Justice Play Groups.

this is the way it is.

hunger

This is the story of Juan 7 years old and Maria 6 years old.

Take five minutes to watch their story here. 

 

The outskirts of the city dump.

Every day.

Six to seven hours, for food, plastic and recyclables to sell.

Sometimes we don’t eat… sometimes we do. One day we don’t eat… one day we do. This is the way it is. ~Juan

 

Sevenly and Food for the Poor team up this week to feed the hungry. I love Sevenly, not only do proceeds for their sales go to great causes, they invest in education. Each week they partner with a new organization and help spread the word about the work they are doing to make our world better and more just.

This week every item purchased feeds a child in Guatemala for two months.

 

This is the way it is. 

That is true in so many places.

Though, it should not be.

 

Remember hunger.

A Dream So Big

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A Dream So Big: Our Unlikely Journey to End the Tears of Hunger

This is the story of the Peifer Family.

Steve Peifer was a manager of a corporate giant. He and his wife Nancy had two sons and lived in Dallas, Texas.

In 1997, their unborn son was said to have trisomy 13 and his condition to be “incompatible with life.” They were advised to abort the baby. They did not listen to that advice and loved their son for the eight days they were given with him.

The loss was deep and their family left for a 12-month assignment as dorm parents in a Kenyan boarding school. 12 months turned into a lifetime of service. Steve now serves as Director of College Guidance at Rift Valley Academy.

Their family established a rural food program that feeds 20,000 school children lunch. They also developed the first solar-powered computer training center in Kenya, and are currently developing more labs for schoolchildren.

 

My dear friend Becky Bing went to high school at Rift Valley Academy. I love her stories of being there and appreciate the loving wisdom she gathered while she lived in Kenya. Reading this book was especially exciting to me to learn more about what she experienced. I loved the book and the remarkable story of the Peifer family.

 

Steve is vulnerable and real in his re-telling of their story. The days were not always easy. You will fall in love with the resilient people of Africa and the Peifer’s who refused to give up.

Humor and tears coexist. The perilous driving conditions, baboons in the schoolyard, funny third-culture adolescent boys reside alongside the faces of starving children, magnadoodles delivered to orphanages and the hope computers bring.

Many Kenyan children only eat one meal a day. The Peifer’s do not look away from the suffering they witness and they summon us to have the strength to do the same.

 

The Peifer family also adopted twins, Katie and Ben while in Kenya. Their court appointed date to finalize the adoptions was on May 4, the exact date their son Stephan had passed away. I love how God can redeem the unredeemable. 

He also writes, Stephan was born six years ago today. March 4 used to be such a hard day. But I look at the twins, at the more than eight thousand schoolkids we feed every day, at the amazing life we live now because of his life, and I can see him in almost everything I do, everything I am. 

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Leave a comment to win a hard-cover copy of the book!

What is your dream so big? 

You can learn more about how to support the program Kenyan Kids Can here.