September is National Hunger Month in the U.S. I'm joining forces with bloggers, moms, writers and others to get involved and make a difference. To get the ball rolling, I wanted to share 10 Simple Ways to Get Involved!
1. Help your child become a Hunger-Fighting Superhero. Make them an orange cape - Mama Smiles has a Super-Simple Superhero Capes to inspire you. Then have the whole family join Team No Kid Hungry at nokidhungry.org
2. Spread Awareness: 1 in 5 (that's 16 million) children in the U.S. struggle with hunger. It's easy to spread awareness - it can be as simple as donating your Facebook status or sending a tweet, such as: Did you know that just $1 can help connect a child to as many as 10 healthy meals? http://nokidhungry.org/ #nokidhngry #goorange (I'll be tweeting facts, tips, calls to action all month @IndieJenFischer)
3. Play Games!! With the learning games on FreeRice.com, rice is donated for every correct answer. You could also have a Grocery Store Scavenger Hunt (They can even wear their cape while they secure all of the hunger-fighting items). See if your food bank provides a list of most needed items, print the list and take it to the store so your kids can go on a scavenger hunt for those items. Here's what's on the list in my town: canned meats, canned soups, peanut butter, dried soups, rice, beans, pasta, bar soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes.
4. Set up a lemonade stand or host a bake sale (with friends) to raise funds for No Kid Hungry, Feeding America or your local food bank/pantry.
5. Organize a canned food drive. I'm doing one at the Farmer's Market in Old Town Newhall, Santa Clarita, CA this Thursday from 4-8 pm. DoSomething has great tips/ideas for organizing a food drive. Remember, every can counts!
6. Volunteer at the Local Food Pantry - The mom at 52 Brand New and her children did this as one of their new experiences.
7. Eat Out! Yep - With Share Our Strength and No Kid Hungry, you can arrange to Eat Out and have a portion of the proceeds go to the campaign.
8. Cook with your kids. Then, select all of the food items for that favorite dish and donate those items to the food pantry so another family can experience your favorite meal. (One of the food pantries in my community actually takes produce, which surprised me, so if you're not sure if they will take an ingredient, just call ahead to check.)
9. Visit No Kid Hungry and pick one of the many other ways that you can get involved, such as, participating in the Great American Bake Sale, turning your next Birthday Party into a giving opportunity or having your classroom, homeschool group or other youth club/organization participate in the No Kid Hungry Essay Contest, which opens for entries on Sept. 9th and closes on Sept. 24th with a 1st place cash prize of $500.
10. Empower your child -- Talk to your child about hunger (at a level that is appropriate for their age) and see what ideas they come up with to help fight hunger. One young boy started making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to give to those in need. Another child organized a neighborhood bike ride to raise money. (If your nervous about talking to your child about hunger, I plan to share a suggested reading list soon.)
Hunger is not just an issue in the U.S. and most of these ideas will work anywhere. Support your local food bank or the agencies in your country that help fight hunger.
Share what you do!! Please comment with ways you are helping your community and suggest more ideas for all of us to get involved.