Did you know that more than 16 million children under the age of eighteen in the United States are food
insecure? Food insecure means that they are unable to consistently access adequate amounts of nutritious food necessary for a healthy life. What is even worse is that more than three million children under the age of five are food insecure. The developing immune systems of young children ages 0 – 5 make them especially vulnerable to nutritional deprivation and as a result, the ability to learn, grow, and fight infections is adversely affected. If you live in a low income district like I do (which it wasn’t when we moved here!), you’ll find that if half the kids in your school aren’t eating correctly, how do you expect them to learn?
My local statistics don’t sound much better. The food pantries in the southwest suburbs of Chicago serve
approximately 2,800 people a month (and this is 2010 – 2011 statistic. I can guarantee that it is much worse now.) The supper programs that Catholic Charities serve gave away more than 9,000 hot meals in the southwest suburbs. The Catholic Charities summer lunch program provided 282,000 meals to children that summer.
I know that those statistics make you as sick as they make me, but there are ways you can help. Learn about the hunger needs of children in your community by inviting a teacher, social worker, food pantry employee, or homeless shelter volunteer to talk with your family, friends, and co-workers. Gather your family, friends, and co-workers and ask them to bring nutritious foods like Pediasure®, Pediasure SideKicks®, and ZonePerfect® bars to help children in need. Give the nutritious food to a school, church, food pantry, or non-profit organization in your community. These organizations need snacks and meals for children who do not get enough nutritious food on a daily basis. This food doesn’t just help children have enough to eat – it helps them have happier and healthier futures.
There are several reasons why my family chose the Catholic Charities to donate a snack pack to. My daughter attends a Catholic School, and we are Catholic. 92 cents of every dollar they raise goes directly to serve people. They serve anyone in need regardless of their race, ethnic background, or religious affiliation. Catholic Charities is also the largest provider of social services in the State of Illinois. In FY08, Catholic Charities gave out over $69,000 in homeless prevention money in the southwest suburbs which is estimated to save almost $900,000 in shelter costs and human services.
I totally understand that not everyone can give food. Here are a few of their volunteer opportunities:
Assist at suppers (5 locations) by serving dinner, soliciting donations, acting as a lead volunteer
Provide a meal to the young moms participating in the MAPP program at St. James in Maywood
Provide a meal for residents at Cookes Manor Hines
Provide a meal for families living in interim housing
Organize food drives
Package food to be distributed to the hungry
Screen clients for food stamps
Basic Human Needs
Work in clothing rooms and food pantries
Assist at our health fairs
Assemble survival packs
I’ve learned since the economy has tanked that the demand for Catholic Charities has tripled. I am glad to do my part, and my next post will show you what we were able to donate to them with the help of Champions for Kids.
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias
- Our Toy Drive Donation! #CBias #DisneyCFK #ChampionsforKids (mythoughtsideasandramblings.com)
- Giving Back To Your Community During Christmas Time #CBias, #DisneyCFK (mythoughtsideasandramblings.com)