I could tell you the cold, hard facts about childhood hunger. Share that right here in the United States 1 out of every 5 children do not know where their next meal is coming from. Hit you with the numbers;
16 Million Suffer from Childhood Hunger
I could even bring it home for you and say that with numbers like that, it’s highly likely that someone you know is dealing with this. Or, I could tell you my story.
When I was in elementary school my dad lost his job. Saver of lives, a man who rescued people and fought fires – a hero, my hero – was laid off by the state of California due to budget cuts. In the blink of an eye our family of five lost the sole breadwinner in the house.
All I knew was that we got to play with daddy more. I thought that mom was hunting more because dad was home so much – driving her crazy. To me the time we spent as a family volunteering at the local food-share program was another way for my parents to teach us life lessons. The bonus always being that we got to bring home a big box of “leftovers.” My 8 year old self had no clue that, that was our only food. I didn’t know what my parents were struggling through to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies.
As an adult I look back on that time and my heart breaks for them. How could a man with multiple advanced degrees, years of experience, who had saved countless lives and homes, EVER end up in a place where he didn’t know if he could feed his family? I can’t imagine looking at my own children and knowing I couldn’t feed them.
We made it through. Mom kept us all strong, held the family together. She was always our rock. Dad went back to work. I grew up not ever knowing how bad it had gotten. Sadly, not all kids can say that.
Today I’m joining with Unilever Project Sunlight in doing my part help shine a light on hunger in America. We need to change long-held notions of what hunger looks like, why it happens and to whom. Childhood hunger touches us all, in so many ways. Let’s talk about it, listen without judgment, and put an end to it.
The families in the short video, “Going to Bed Hungry: Changing the Face of Child Hunger” have shared their stories – who they are, where they come from, will surprise you. I add my story to theirs and ask that you take a moment to watch (with some tissue nearby) and then take one minute more to spread the word. Help put an end to the hunger – we CAN DO THIS!