An article in the New York Times last week cited the sharp incline in subsidized and free meals provided by schools. Unless you live under a rock, this news wasn't surprising...but the image of a child who cannot focus because he/she is hungry sticks with me, perhaps because I place such a high value on nourishing my own children through homemade meals. But a follow-up article by The Lunch Tray is what really got me. In their article, they raise the question of social stigma as it relates to hunger, and bring to light "a troubling, modern-day twist on the problem: on some campuses, hapless kids standing in the federally reimbursable meal line are having their pictures taken by other students’ cell phones, with the photos then uploaded to Facebook and/or texted around the school along with disparaging messages about the child’s economic status. Not surprisingly, students in these schools are willing to forego lunch entirely, rather than risk this sort of high-tech social ostracism." I hate to write a downer of a post, but seriously?
And so, as I wrap up my fall feeling thankful for all that we are able to provide our family, I have done a bit of research and picked a couple of non-profits that we will support, in hopes that a few less children will go hungry. I am sharing them with you too, in case you are making year-end donations, and would like to learn more about these organizations that work to combat hunger with dignity, compassion and resourcefulness.
A few summers ago, I was fortunate to hear the leader of The Blaine County Hunger Coalition speak about one of their most popular programs, "the backpack club". In many cases, states have school breakfast and lunch figured out. There's a ton of debate now on what constitutes good school food, but at the heart of the matter, a child is getting two meals a day. But what happens when the child goes home on the weekend? I had never really thought of that. This program prides itself on being discreet for the 126 children who received their weekend meals in a backpack dropped off for them on Fridays. This year, the need will no doubt be even higher.
And just down the road from us is Person-to-Person, which regularly gets trunk loads of our gently used clothing the boys have outgrown. But did you know that P2P provides clients with a safety net of services, including groceries, to get them through challenging times? In fact, if you are placing a peapod order, you can select non-perishable items and have them delivered directly to Person-to-Person, at 1864 Post Road, Darien, CT 06820. How easy is that?
These are just two of many worthwhile organizations to consider. I would love to hear about organizations that combat hunger, and are meaningful to you, in your communities.