11 Ways to Help Fight Hunger as a Family This Summer

Alaisha Key | May 30, 2017 Good News

Feeding America
Courtesy of Feeding America

All over the world, children face the problem of not having enough food to eat. In America, more than 13 million kids are dealing with that reality. That means that one out of every six kids in the US is at risk of hunger. And, when school's out for summer, the challenges that these children and their parents face become even more difficult, as they cannot count on free and reduced school lunch programs to provide them with these important meals.

CafeMom has teamed up with Feeding America to help raise awareness and provide families with ways to aid those in need. Here are some practical ideas, based on the initiative's Hungry to Help Family Action Plan (created in collaboration with Scholastic), on how to talk to your kids about hunger and how your family can make a difference this summer -- and even have some fun doing it.

  • Start a Conversation

    1

    The topic of hunger is a tough one to address, but having an open conversation with kids can help introduce them to the issue. Break it down for them by talking about what it is and how others (especially kids like them) are affected throughout the world, as well as in their very own community. Having them think about what this would feel like, or acknowledging what they are thankful for, is a great way to start. You might also ask them to put pen (or crayons) to paper to have them express through words or pictures how they think they can help.

  • Read Books at Bedtime

    2

    If you are trying to explain hunger to younger kids, books can be a big help. Try reading a picture book that illustrates the topic in a way that they can understand -- and in a way that helps them step into other people's shoes. Here are a few suggestions that Feeding America recommends: Maddi's Fridge by Lois Brandt, One Potato, Two Potato by Cynthia DeFelice, and Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by Dyanne DiSalvo-Ryan.

  • Talk About Everyday Heroes

    3

    There are plenty of stories in the news about individuals making a difference in their communities. For example, a Seattle dad recently started a GoFundMe to raise enough money to pay off the end-of-year lunch debt at his son's school. Getting donations from all over, he ended up raising enough money to pay off the debt for his entire district. Stories like his show kids that anyone can make a change -- and can inspire others to help.

    More from CafeMom: 15 Back-to-School Lunchbox Hacks Every Mom Needs in Her Life

  • Brainstorm Together

    4

    As a family, sit down and think about what you can realistically do to help fight hunger in your neighborhood. Start simple. After all, you don't have to solve the problem in one day or even one season. Try to set daily, weekly, or even monthly goals that you can work toward -- and hold each other accountable. Plus, being able to check off the items on a list gives kids incentives to be #HungryToHelp!

  • Create a Food Budget

    5

    The kids may tag along when Mom or Dad is grocery shopping (trying to throw in those sugary snacks, of course), but many don't know what it takes to balance a budget. Have your child actually sit down and try to plan out meals and a budget for the week so that he or she can see how much it really costs to feed a family.

  • Start a Fund-Raiser

    6

    Raising money for organizations that help fight hunger is another way to aid struggling families. You can help your children set up a business -- like running a lemonade stand -- or organize a garage sale to help raise funds for local food banks or nationwide organizations.

    More from CafeMom12 Nonprofits to Support if You Want to Help Moms

  • Collect Change to Make a Change

    7

    An easy way to get the entire household involved is to have a collection jar. Find a jar or a box that you and the kids can decorate. Make sure to place it in plain sight, and have everyone put loose change into it. When it gets full, donate the money to a local or national charity helping to end hunger. (You can also get the community to participate by reaching out to neighbors.)

  • Grow Your Own Food

    8

    Getting the community involved is a great way to not only get the kids out of the house but make a difference as well. Starting a community garden in the neighborhood could be a fun activity for kids that can eventually help provide food to give to a local food pantry or soup kitchen. Or simply start growing food in your own backyard or some herbs on your windowsill.

  • Give Back on Your Special Day

    9

    If your children have summer birthdays, talk to them about using their celebrations to help others. Having them opt for charitable donations instead of gifts is a good way to make their birthday extra memorable -- even if it's just a portion of the b-day haul. You can have partygoers give money directly to a charity, like Feeding America, or have them bring money (or food supplies!) to be donated afterward.

    More from CafeMom: 8 Fun Ideas to Make Your Kid's Birthday Party a Charitable Event

  • Help Out at a Food Pantry

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    Volunteering to distribute food and meals at a local food pantry lets kids interact with families that are directly affected. It's a good way for them to see that kids and parents just like them might be struggling to keep their bellies full. Your family might also want to check out a local food bank -- where you can bring unopened goods (find out which foods they need most) and ask about other volunteer opportunities.

  • Organize a Community Food Drive

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    While it may only take one person to make a difference, there's strength in numbers. And getting kids and parents to ask their churches, clubs, girl scout troops, or sports teams to participate in a community food drive is a great way to get supplies for a local food bank. The more the merrier ... and the more food that can go to those in need.

    More from CafeMomSchool Lunch Debts Are Being Eliminated & We Have a Movement of People to Thank

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