By Katie Colgary
If you are anything like me, you watch the Food Network more often than the News, then chances are you have heard of “Hunger Hits Home”. The Food Network last night aired a special presentation of this one-hour long documentary. According to their high publicity commercials and short preview available online, this is an eye-opening tear-jerker.
The Food Network hopes to get into the hearts of Americans of all backgrounds and social standings, and uncover the truth about hunger in America. Through interviews with parents and their children, Congressmen and their constituents, and teachers and their students, this documentary is set to take you on a journey that just may change the way you view our nation’s hidden hunger problem.
The film is part of an ongoing partnership between Food Network and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign to end childhood hunger in America by 2015.
I set an hour of time aside last night, as I am dedicating to learning more about this ever-growing epidemic, and how I might be able to help. I hope the documentary’s words and images will weigh on the decisions and actions of those responsible for making changes for our Nation’s children. No child should be hungry.
If you are looking for ways to help out in your community, here are some ideas to get you moving in the right direction.
1. Donate Food. Many people choose to donate food only when there is a “local charity drive” or through their church around the holidays. While this is great, please remember that people aren’t only hungry at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Feeding America (www.feedingamerica.org) can help you find a local food bank near you, open year round. This site breaks things down by state, and tells you more than just a name and phone number. They give you real stats on the types and number of programs that they serve, as well as how much food is distributed annually. (Before you run out and drop of a bushel of apples at your local after school program, call ahead. Some schools and programs may have restrictions on what they can and cannot accept as donations, no matter how good your intentions.)
2. Get involved with Share our Strength® (www.strength.org). Through their website, you can find out more information about their five national programs aimed at stopping hunger. These include the Great American Bake Sale ®, which encourages local activists and enthusiasts to start home-grown bake sales in their community. They provide all of the resources and have a goal this year of over 500 community bake sales nationwide in one weekend (April 20-22)! Grab some of your fellow moms, dads, and older siblings and start your own community bake sale!
3. Donate your time. In addition to a physical donation of food throughout the year, you can also benefit countless young children by donating your time. Food banks can accept the food you give them, but it still takes a mountain of volunteers to process and distribute the goods before they go bad. Consider planning a school trip, scout outing, or even a company team building experience at the closest food bank near you. Your time will be greatly appreciated. Go to www.2-harvest.org to find volunteerism opportunities near you.
The new documentary, “Hunger Hits Home,” takes a first-hand look at the crisis of childhood hunger in America through the eyes of the parents, children, anti-hunger activists, educators and politicians on the frontlines of the battle.
If you didn’t catch the special last night, you still can, as it will be again airing today at 2pm, also on April 21 at 6pm and April 23 at 10am.