"Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me."
Today is a very exciting and special day for many children across the U.S. Christmas Break is upon us! For my children this means laughter with cousins and extra time with family, sledding, baking cookies, finishing up the placement's of ornaments on their Advent trees, driving around looking at lights with the heater blasting, watching A Christmas Story on Christmas Eve and waking up Christmas morning to see that Santa visited and they have gifts to their hearts content! It also means many, MANY abundant meals with family and friends who all have plenty. After all, it's "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," Right?
For Many Children it's not so Magical. The hot meals provided in lunchrooms across our country... YES the same food programs that are constantly receiving scrutiny for providing less than "healthy" meals... Well, those meals may be the only real meal a child receives in any given day.
The upcoming Christmas Break, Snow Days, the recent threat causing the closure of LAUSD and sending 650,000 kids home can mean a lot of kids being sent to their "food-insecure" homes to only dream of a warm meal. In fact, 1 in 5 American Children lives in hunger. As my friend Dayle Hayes, a true crusader and supporter of the school lunch program, mentioned on a recent Facebook post: NBC aired a story called "Invisible Problem: Kids Who Only Eat at School" in 2014. The story highlighted the extreme hurdle 20 million children, in THIS country face, getting their basic needs met.
I believe there are genuinely sufficient resources. The children our kid's go to school with, maybe even their best friend, should not have to go home wondering when and where their next meal will be. We are literally starving our children. This problem is not MY problem or "their" problem. It is OUR problem. As a nation we can do better! We MUST do better!
Fortunately there is hope. Isn't that what this season is really all about? HOPE? Hope for a better life, new beginnings, re-kindled friendships... and my hope?: Knowing the ability to feed all the hungry children is within our reach and the many ways we can accomplish this!
Programs like Kids Aid (the backpack program,) & No Kid Hungry, and Public Figures including, Jeff Bridges, Jimmy Carter, Sela Ward, and Dolly Parton along with corporations like the Food Network, WalMart, & Wendy's are all taking great strides to bring light to this problem and work toward a solution. Even if you are only able to feed one child, one meal... If all you can do in this moment is love one person that much? YOU are making a difference.
“One of the greatest feelings in the world is knowing that we as individuals can make a difference. Ending hunger in America is a goal that is literally within our grasp.” Jeff Bridges