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Let's End Summer Hunger - #HungryToHelp


Let's help put an end to summer hunger with Feeding America and Scholastic.


When I was growing up, summer meant everything to me. Summer did not just mean a summer vacation from school, it also meant that my mom and I were going on a vacation to a foreign place, whether it was another island in the Caribbean or somewhere farther away, it was always fun and a learning experience. It's what developed my love for travel. Summer meant being out of school and not having a care in the world, playing with friends and family until the sun went down or until our parents called us in for either lunch or dinner. Growing up, one thing I never had to worry about was where my next meal was going to come from. As a child that is something that you should NEVER have to worry about. Unfortunately, did you know that one in six children right here in the USA struggle with hunger and the summer can be especially difficult? For most of these children, they depend on school lunches to provide them with a meal, so when school is out for the summer, their meal, and sometimes it's their only meal, disappears.


I'm a big advocate against childhood hunger and me and my children take part in my church's food pantry and distribute meals to other families in need. I truly do believe that no child should ever go hungry, especially here in the United States of America, the land of the free and opportunities. Can you imagine if YOUR OWN CHILDREN had nothing to eat during the summer? If the school-provided meals was their only source of nourishment?

Hunger harms a person’s physical, emotional, and social well-being. But it is even more devastating for children, as it can hinder their full potential. You can't perform your duties if you're hungry, you can't study and get good grades if you're hungry, and you surely won't want to do anything at all if you're hungry. Imagine yourself going without meals for a day, and I'm not talking about being on a diet, I'm talking about not eating AT ALL! It's not a good feeling.

Meet Zoey:
Zoey is 11 years old. She lives in Bangor, ME with her brother and mother.
Zoey gets free breakfast and lunch at her school. And during the summer, Zoey goes to her local food bank's summer lunch program to help supplement the meals she misses when school is out.
Thanks to her local summer lunch program, Zoey has the chance to be healthy, happy and focus on being a kid.

There are ways to approach the topic of childhood hunger in your very own community with your children, no matter their age. Here are 3 ways to approach the topic and ones that I have used with my very own.

1. Encourage Empathy - Children, even the youngest of them, can learn to be empathetic towards others. Ask questions such as "how would it feel if you didn't have enough to eat or were hungry?" It's ok to talk about their emotions. Madison at age 5 understands what it means since she's at that age where she can say when she's hungry. Now we can talk about other children who are also hungry but have nothing to eat.

2. Share Your Own Stories - Was there a time that you went without food or do you know of someone who did? Share your stories so they can understand. While I never went hungry as a child, I have gone hungry as an adult when I was on my own and lost my job. Luckily there were no children involved but it's a story I can share.

3. Make a Difference - Participate in a food drive or a food pantry and help distribute food to those in need. If your children see you making a difference, they'll also want to make a difference.


This summer Feeding America and Scholastic want us to make summer the season to end hunger.

They have developed the Hungry to Help program to engage families and communities on the topic of hunger during the summer months. The Family Action Plan is designed to be a comprehensive resource for parents and children to practice empathy and learn more about how you can support those who struggle with hunger.

The Family Action Plan includes:

Links and online resources for more in-depth information
Family conversation starters on the topic of hunger
Hands-on community action ideas and family activities
Children’s activity sheet to draw their perfect world
A summer checklist to track their progress

Visit their website and download the Family Action Plan and get started on your way to help end child hunger this summer! www.scholastic.com/hungrytohelp

For more information on hunger in the United States, visit www.feedingamerica.org.



Annmarie John
62 Comments
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62 comments:

  1. I love your blog AnnMarie. Hunger is a cause I really try to get behind, particularly when it comes to kids. I think you've highlighted a really important issue here and how to not only discuss with our children but also make a difference! I feel very fortunate to be in a position to support those who need it the most.

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  2. Hunger is so real and this day in age, needs to stop. There is so much we can do to help!

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  3. This is so important for families in need! There are so many more families experiencing that than people can realize.

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  4. I am with you on summer and still is my favorite time of the year. As forchicldhood hunger, I recently spoke a bit about this on my blog, too. And I do so much agree with your tips on how to broach this sensitive, but most important topic, too.

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing this! We have a real problem with summer hunger down here in my area, and it's so painful to see.

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  6. Thank you so, so much for sharing this. We always donate to our local food bank, but I always wondered what else we could do. I'm definitely visiting the site.

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  7. This is a great post and it highlights some wonderful ways people can get involved. I hope to get involved more over the summer with my family. Thanks for the reminder!

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  8. Reading this made me emotional. It also motivated me to move, to make changes. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  9. This is such an informative way to builds value system within your kids and make them aware of issues such as hunger

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  10. This post is positively beautiful. Not enough people stop to think of those that are suffering from childhood hunger. And WE can do something about it!

    Much love,
    Ashley | dearash.com

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  11. As a school teacher, I totally agree with this advocacy. I hope to help end hunger too especially for the kids who doesn't deserve to feel hungry EVER in their lives. I also try ny best to donate food and my services. Everything we do, no matter how little, helps.

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  12. That is such a great program. It is so sad that at 11 a child like Zoey must have to worry about where her next meal will come from. This is not something a child should ever have to worry about.

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  13. A great share Annmarie. Its happening a lot in different countries and also here in the UK.

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  14. I think it is so sad that summer hunger is a thing :(, over here more people are turning to food banks than previous years it is sad to know people are starving.

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  15. This is a wonderful cause. It is sad that so many children here are facing hunger and don't know when their next meal will be. Summers can be hard for many children and it is wonderful to be able to help!

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  16. I hate knowing that in 2017 we still have kids who go hungry. Its great to see Scholastic part of such an important program.

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  17. My local school district offers free summer lunch program for any child under age 18 no matter if you live in the district or not. And it's the one time where they asked no questions about income or eligibility. My only problem with that is that I feel the food is not as healthy as it could be .

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  18. This is a great reminder to get the kids involved in community programs like food drives! The Family Action Plan sounds like a great place to start.

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  19. We all take eating and nourishment for granted. It is so important to help those less fortunate than ourselves. This movement is so important.

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  20. This movement is so important we take for granted that we eat all our meals and get regular nourishment.

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  21. I love this such a great idea! It's so scary how many kids go hungry in the summer without school lunches. What a great program!

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  22. There are a lot of kids at Scarlet's school who get breakfast and/or lunch. Generally both. I really do wonder what happens in the summer.
    We have a town Survival Center and I make donations there once or twice a month. I am definitely going to go weekly during the summer. Once I charged Cassidy's credit card so much with food and supplies for the food bank that he thought our credit card had gotten stolen!
    (oops.. sorry but not sorry)

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  23. This is just awesome. I think helping with this cause is one of the best ways to give back. Kids never deserve to experience hunger. They have so much ahead of them and hunger should be a cause to set them back. I am loving your suggestions.

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  24. Hunger is one of the tops issues that we have back home where I'm from and it pains me to see the kids in the streets asking for food. They never deserve that kind of life and it would be awesome to help out.

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  25. The last thing I would ever want is a child to go hungry, especially if I could help! Thanks for the reminder to make sure I donate to the food bank this summer!

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  26. I love summer too my friend.

    Hunger, especially child hunger, is unacceptable considering how much food waste there is in the world. It makes no sense. It's an important cause and one that our children should be involved in as well.

    Thanks for sharing.
    xoxo

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  27. Summer is great, but if your 11 and having to worry about your next meal that is crazy! I couldn't imagine doing that. I also love your daughter's hair its so vibrant!

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  28. Same here. Summer hunger is one of our problems because during this season, feeding programs stop. This article melts my heart.. You're a great mom!

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  29. It's easy to forget that in the summer kids don't have easy access to food like they might get at school. Donating to great organizations can help make a big difference in a kid's summer vacation.

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  30. I didn't realise that so many kids went hungry, that's such a scary figure. I never thought about that when I was a kid x

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  31. Summer is really fun but we should be also make a difference with this advocacy.

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  32. I love getting my kids involved in community programs like food drives! We recently had a food drive at my kids' school.

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  33. This is a very real situation and it just saddens me. Thank you for sharing these tips! I am going to see how I can do my part!

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  34. This is a great campaign! It feels great to make a difference and help put end to child hunger.

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  35. It's hard to believe that summer is almost here for our kids. Scholastic is a great program, as is Feeding America. Thanks for sharing.

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  36. This is a huge issue and it's so great to see people using their media outlets to share awareness and ways to help out! I think it's so important to get people involved starting at a young age too!

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  37. I think that is great that you teach your daughter such good initiatives.
    Plus, your daughter is so cute in the pictures!

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  38. My brother, sister, and I were a set of those kids that didn't have a lot of meals during the summer. We always wished people would show us a little more empathy and not make us feel bad for something we couldn't control.

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  39. Summer can bring some different hardships for many kids. I should know, I lived it. I support this program and all that it does with every fiber of my being.

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  40. It's so sad that even in 2017 this is still a huge worry. No one should go hungry, ever. This is an issue I strongly believe in. Also, gorgeous photos your daughter is adorable! - Jeanine

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  41. It makes me sad that there are children out there who go from day to day feeling hungry or not getting the enough nutrients to sustain them. Child hunger must be stopped. Thank you for letting us know how we can reach out and help.

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  42. This is a fantastic program and you're definitely right, kids shouldn't even have to consider where their next meal is going to come from, neither should parents! A great initiative to be involved with

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  43. It's so sad that there are starving children in this world. There are super wealthy people who continually get richer and richer - that could totally feed the world and not miss a dime. I know it's not their "duty" to feed others but you best believe if I had that kind of money, there would be NO hunger.

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  44. This is such an important issue to bring attention to. I know that in my area, it is very common for kids' meals to only be during the school day. Our community works hard to make sure that there are options in the summer for those children.

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  45. My mom worked for the elementary school for years and they partnered with the local food bank to make sure the children all had food during the summer. It always breaks my heart that little one have to know what it is like to be hungry. Nobody should no that.

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  46. I always had friends who were active at church with this stuff. My mom always encouraged me to get involved. It changed my life.

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  47. I seriously love this post. It's not often that parents take the time to teach their children empathy.

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  48. Thank you for this wonderful resource. It can be difficult to find ways to help your children connect to issues outside of what they're used to in life.

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  49. I never want to see kids go hungry. Our church actually has a program that fills backpacks with food for kids.

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  50. This is a great cause. I have been happy to see people in my own community sharing info about where kids can eat this summer.

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  51. It drives me coocoo that there are little ones that are hungry in this country. When I was a kid so long ago(LOL), we shared what we had in our garden with everyone in our neighborhood. People would bring food to eat other and if we knew some one was struggling the whole neighborhood would pitch in.

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  52. It is important to donate food to your communities so that everyone is fed. Children should never go hungry!

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  53. Love that you are bringing attention to this cause. I agree, that no child should go hungry. I'm dissapointed there aren't more programs to help families and kids in need

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  54. This is such an important topic. So many daytime assistance programs stop for children in need during the summer but their needs do not putting them in crisis.

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  55. Ughhh it just breaks my heart that so many kids go hungry. We live in an area where all the kids get free lunch at school during the year because thats how many people qualify for it. It's over 75% of the district:-/ The sad part is, what do most of these kids do when schools out?! There really needs to be more programs for kiddos. It's not their fault their in that situation.

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  56. I hate to hear about children going hungry. Its just not right that they do! I will help in anyway I can. Thanks for letting me know how. Its about time this stops.

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  57. Homelessness and hunger are two issues that have always tugged at my heartstrings, especially when children are involved. It is heartbreaking!

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  58. This is so important to talk about. I think one of the biggest things we can do is spread awareness and give families a way to step in like you're doing today.

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  59. This is such a great post as it highlights the way people can get involved and really make a difference. I will have to see if there's a similar campaign running in the UK this year that I can help with :)

    Louise x

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  60. It is so sad that some kids don't have enough to eat. I think this is a great cause to be a part of and really something that helps.

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  61. This was painful to read! So sad for these children! What a great cause you are involved in! Keep up the good work :)

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  62. I'm glad summer programs like this exist. I used to work w/ at-risk youth. So many kids struggle with this- going hungry, not sure where their next meal is coming from. Thanks for raising awareness on this AnnMarie + Madison!

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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