Last week I attended a small event where I learned quite a bit about how Food Lifeline is working to end child hunger in Seattle. No I take that back, they are working hard in all parts of Western Washington. They move more food than I ever could have imagined in just one day and food banks can order food like they were ordering from Amazon and it will be boxed up and ready for them to pick it up. Food Lifeline serves 17 counties and distributes more than 35 million pounds of food each year, the equivalent of more than 27 million meals, to a member network of nearly 300 local food banks, shelters and meal programs. Of the 745,000 people the food bank serves, 35% are children. You can help by volunteering or by downloading the Hunger Avengers Activity Booklet you can educate your children about the issue and ConAgra Foods will donate a meal to Feeding America.
What they are doing for children is very exciting. They are starting a program in our area called a kid’s café. It’s amazing what they are doing, they are providing healthy options for these kids in Washington to eat. I’m so excited about that because I feel like most food that is donated to food banks is not exactly healthy it’s convenient. The Food Life Line organization actually received organic food and fresh food to give out to families in need. Food Lifeline recently received a $20,000 Hunger-Free Summer grant to help further expand its summer feeding program — offering more children access to meals during the critical summer months. The grant has helped Food Lifeline launch a pilot Kids Café where children can receive free meals in Index, WA in rural Snohomish County with the goal of further expanding to additional sites. The Kids Café operates three days a week and anticipates up to 50 children each day.
I also learned that in our area people are ashamed of being unable to feed their children. I mean, I would be ashamed too, so I understand how they feel, but how do we change that image? How do we make families feel like getting food for their kids is ok. One way is we take the food to them. Food Life Line takes food to parks in Seattle so families feel fine taking the food. No one in need is turned away. We also have done away with food stamps. Families can get cards to use so it looks like they are swiping a credit card. I had no idea about that and was excited to learn that.
Hunger-Free Summer is only as successful as the number of children who take advantage of it. Families can visit the ConAgra Foods Facebook page to download a copy of “The Hunger Avengers” activity booklet. For every download of the book from June 26 to Sept. 3, 2012, the ConAgra Foods Foundation will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal* to Feeding America. The organization will also donate the monetary equivalent of one meal for every “Share” on Facebook, up to 500,000 meals.
For every $1 donated, Feeding America can help provide 8 meals to families in need. To make a donation, visit www.feedingamerica.org. Visit feedingamerica.org/ to learn more about hunger in your community and how you can help. To find a summer feeding program in your area, visit www.feedingamerica.org/summer.