I already knew the problem, kids go hungry during the summertime. What I didn’t know was that there are companies like ConAgra Foods working to help companies like Feeding America to make sure those children are being fed. A few weeks ago I went to Nashville Tennessee where I learned a lot about working to make a difference for children during the summer.
ConAgra Foods has been providing grants to programs across the US for them to use to help children in need. In Nashville ConAgra Foods brought in musical artist Kellie Pickler to help raise awareness and interest the local media. First thing I realized is that education is the best way to help charities, because when you let more people know, then more people can be helped and more people will receive services.
Second thing I learned was that there are way more children in need than I first realized. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than one in five children doesn’t have enough food to live active, healthful lives. This is just unacceptable.
Feeding America reports the following states have the highest instance of child food insecurity according to the "Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2012" study:
11. Washington, D.C. – 30.7%
12. Oregon – 29.0%
12. Arizona – 29.0%
14. New Mexico – 28.7%
15. Florida – 28.4%
16. Mississippi – 28.3%
16. Georgia – 28.3%
18. Nevada – 28.2%
19. Arkansas – 27.8%
10. North Carolina – 27.6%
An executive summary of the “Map the Meal Gap” report and interactive map can be found at: feedingamerica.org/mapthegap.
Third, I learned ways to help. One, you can volunteer at your local food bank or food pantry. In Nashville we had the opportunity to create the children’s weekend backpacks. These backpacks include food for breakfast and lunch for two days.
You can also help 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. The long-term goal of the ConAgra Foods Foundation’s Hunger-Free Summer program is to provide, over the next five years, at least 25 percent more meals for children struggling with hunger through summer food programs.
Third, education others, create food drives of your own. I found that the food bank loves to get more food from others because it’s those food drives that give them more variety than they would otherwise have. Large companies donate large amounts of the same thing and I think people in need deserve more variety, they deserve to eat just like we do.
Dean Dixon was the photographer for all of these photos, I’m a ConAgra Foods Hunger Free Summer Ambassador