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One constant daily refrain in my life is: “Mom, I’m HUNGRY!” The reality is that my hungry kids at their hungriest have never known real hunger. We are definitely a family on a budget, but that budget always has room for food. With my boys being four and six, they are just beginning to realize that there is a bigger outside world—a world in which many people know real hunger. Especially if your family is living frugally like our family, this is the question: How can we help fight hunger?
There are so many larger organizations to partner with, but also even small ways to help fight hunger. First up: helping the boys realize that 1 in 5 children in our own country don’t have enough to eat. This is challenging to boys who are ready for second breakfast at 10am. Here are a few tips to help your little ones understand hunger and how they can take part to fight hunger!
How to Help Your Kids Become Hunger Heroes
Donate Food. Whether cleaning out your own pantry and donating to a shelter or picking up a little extra on the months you can, donations to an area food bank is a great way for children to see first-hand how every little donation combines to become a whole food pantry. Make sure you check to see what foods are okay or not okay. If you’ve ever volunteered at a shelter, you know that one of the jobs is sorting through the usable food and the perishable foods that must be thrown out.
Serve at a Local Shelter. Many shelters or food banks have times or events that are family friendly, even for those with little kids. Search your area for local places you could serve and contact someone to see when a good time for you and your family to serve together.
Educate Yourselves. I still agree with G.I. Joe that knowing is half the battle. My kids still don’t fully understand that three meals a day (plus snacks) is a luxury. We’ve started talking to our kids about hunger, gratefulness for what we have, and also how we can help around us. Even if it doesn’t fully sink in, starting the conversation now is a way to help them keep perspective long-term.
Look Local. I mean more local than your nearest food bank. Look around to see if there are any people in need around you. We have personally benefited in the past from people randomly giving us a grocery store gift card or stocking our pantry with staples. This month I haven’t had to cook at all because so many people blessed us with meals after I had a baby. Would we have starved if they didn’t step up? No. But fighting hunger can mean seeing someone who might have a short-term need or just one of those bad financial months and doing something to help.
Put Food in Perspective. Much to my whole family’s disappointment, we are spending one whole day eating nothing (and I mean NOTHING) but beans and rice. I’ve read about families doing this for a week at a time and donating the money saved toward great causes, but for our family, this is more about instilling gratefulness. We are blessed enough to have three meals and to have more than that: we have CHOICES. Spending a day eating a simple food helps put into perspective just how much we have.
After visiting Sam’s Club where we tried samples of KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese and Tyson® Chicken Nuggets (served with waffles!!!), we picked up a 5lb bag of Tyson® Nuggets and 12-pack of Macaroni & Cheese Dinners. You can attend an in-store demonstration at your local Sam’s August 23rd or 24th.
During the month of August, Tyson® and KRAFT are partnering together to help feed children in need. For every purchase at Sam’s Club of Tyson® Fully-Cooked Chicken Nuggets 5 lb. bag, a KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Dinner 7.25 oz. 12-pack, and/or a Capri-Sun 6 oz. 40-pack, they will donate a meal a child in need. You eat, and you’re feeding someone else! Fabulous idea.
I took Sawyer and his cousin Braden to a local women’s shelter to donate the 12-pack of KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese. We’ve taken toys and clothes before, but this was our first food donation. As for the nuggets, we passed those on to some friends who have helped us out before when we needed it. They aren’t food-bank hungry, but have helped us in the past and, like us, have a gaggle of kids and can always use some kid-friendly foods. This helped my kids understand that being a Hunger Hero doesn’t just mean tackling some kind of huge issue, but being considerate of needs large and small around us.
My boys also loved visiting the #HungerHeroes site and playing the online matching game. After visiting the site and looking at the cartoon squad, I had the boys create their own Hunger Heroes cartoon. You never know what sinks in with your kids and I loved hearing the explanations behind their cartoons. According to the boys, these drawings show Hunger Heroes giving water, hot dogs, and orange juice to people. Adorable.
Join in to fight hunger, whether locally and personally or with a larger organization. Even children as young as my boys (4 and 6) can begin to understand that hunger is a real issue even nearby. I love that my boys have a better understanding of hunger through the #HungerHeroes campaign and hope that they continue to be sensitive to the reality that three meals a day is not the reality for everyone.