Parenting Blog

Teaching Compassion And Making This Summer Hunger-Free

This post is brought to you by ConAgra Foods and The Motherhood, and I’ve been compensated for my time. However, all opinions are my own, as always.

During this Hunger-Free Summer campaign over the past few weeks, I learned that my daughters’ school does not participate in a program that provides backpacks full of snacks and meals to kids in need as they go home each weekend. The essential sustenance in those packs help bridge the gap between Friday afternoon and Monday morning, when school and the school cafeteria isn’t available. We hear that one of the reasons might be that our school doesn’t want kids needing those backpacks of aid to feel shame from the greater student body. And right here is where quality parenting comes in, and real conversations about the reality of our world are needed.

Some folks, many many folks, need help for a variety of reasons pure or not, but regardless, they are in need of a hand and there is no shame in that. None. Kids need to know that they are one layoff away from being in need themselves. Hunger can happen to anyone, at anytime. This isn’t to scare them or have them burdened with the worry of adulthood, but to ground children in a single hard fact: some of their friends might not have it as good, and there is nothing about their unfortunate situation that deserves derision.

We don’t do the “finish your dinner, because there are hungry kids in Africa” or even, more locally, “hungry kids down the road in Philly” thing. I remember hearing that kind of stuff as a kid but don’t remember it ever once making me feel empathetic towards those nameless, faceless starving children. Same goes for the infomercials with flies buzzing around the heads of malnourished kids my age in a land far, far away. I couldn’t process what I was seeing or what it meant because I never missed a meal. Ever. This is obvious by looking at me then and now.

Instead of statements of no-consequence made in comfortable suburban homes, we try to safely put our kids in places of need. We volunteer together, we make helping fun even when the work is difficult, while softly giving them factual information about why their help and compassion is needed so badly, right then and also for the rest of their days. We attempt to make compassion a part of our lives and theirs so that giving back will always be more than a photo opp or a corporate effort that they sign up for as part of a team. So far, the results of our efforts are proving positive. My daughters are kind and are loving and want to share their money and time with anyone or anything in need. They might not have the capacity to fully conceptualize hunger, and I honestly hope they never have to, but kindness and gratitude are key ingredients in raising a great child and I think they have those in spades.

You can still help put meals on tables by watching this video with Chris O’Donnell talking about child hunger in America. For every view, a meal will be served to a kid in need this summer. It is only 90-seconds and will make a difference. Please watch. Thank you.

This post is brought to you by ConAgra Foods and The Motherhood, and I’ve been compensated for my time. I will be donating a portion of that compensation to food banks in my area. All opinions expressed above are my own, as always.

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