Are there hungry kids where you live?

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I live in Suburban Maryland, in the same town where I grew up. It’s not an easy place to remember that more than I in 4 American kids go hungry every day- and that they could be walking past my house on the way to school.

Like many places, there’s great affluence sandwiched next to great need- and no clear way to bridge that gap.

My husband and I stopped by a gas station late the other night, and he ran in to pay cash. Several minutes later, he emerged, head shaking and smiling.

“There was a little one in there stuffing her pockets full of food,” he said. “The counter guy busted her and made her put it all back- there she is!”

And we watched as a girl (maybe five) and her dad trudged across the parking lot- empty handed. Clearly, their mission had not involved fueling a vehicle.

I imagined if it were our five year old stuffing her pockets- we would know it was out of a desire for some candy denied, or not understanding how money works.

But I wondered if the child at the gas station’s pocket-stuffing were born of a real need. To feed herself, maybe her dad, or some other kids back at their house- or worse, back behind the grocery store around the strip mall, waiting for the old baked goods to be tossed out.

I wish I could say I jumped out of the car and helped her in some way. But I didn’t, as the situation wasn’t clear, and the last thing I wanted to do was offend her dad.

So I watched them leave, disquieted.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell who may need help, because hunger isn’t obvious. It’s subtle, and it may not be an everyday thing- but even the occasional skipped meal can cause trouble for a kid concentrating in school. This has the potential to compound the problem of childhood hunger beyond a growling belly into a long-lasting gap in skill sets and education.

But there’s ways to help the nearly 17 million American children who don’t get enough sustenance to lead healthy, active lives.

ConAgra Foods, one of America’s leading food companies, is partneringwith Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, on a program that depends on individuals rallying together to help their neighbors in need. This is one campaign in a long-standing 15-year partnership between the two, which has resulted in donations of more than $27 million and millions of pounds of food since 1993.

This Spring, ConAgra Foods and Feeding America are rallying to try to provide an additional 2.5 million meals to children in need. Here’s what we can do to help.

Visit www.childhoodhungerendshere.com to get ideas on how to hold a successful Child Hunger Ends Here Neighborhood Rally. After you register, ConAgra Foods will send you a complete toolkit to help make your event a success. You’ll also find information on other simple ways to support Feeding America in the fight against child hunger.

This March through May, purchase any of the seven participating ConAgra Foods brands:  Banquet, Marie Callender’s , Chef Boyardee, Orville Redenbacher’s, Healthy Choice, Peter Pan Peanut Butter, or Manwich.

For each purchase made through these brands, one meal will be donated to Feeding America. I bought two boxes of Orville Redenbacher popcorn today- that’s two meals I shared with people in need.

Visit www.childhoodhungerendshere.com to get more ideas about how you can impact your community.

Help me get the word out by leaving a comment here or tweeting about childhood hunger using this trackable link: http://bit.ly/9sly8d

For each comment left on this post or tweet using that link, Rock and Roll Mama will donate a dollar to Feeding America, up to $100.  Make sure to use the #fightchildhunger hasthag.

The ConAgra Foods Foundation has committed $10 million over the next 5 years to Feeding America, the nation’s leading hunger relief organization. This donation is the largest ever made to Feeding America specifically to fight child hunger.

As for me, I’m heading down to the National Capital Area Food Bank on April 7 to volunteer, and learn more about how hunger looks in my backyard. I’ll let you know how that goes.

And I’ll be thinking about that little girl, and hoping she just really wanted to snag a Snickers- or that someone helps her get a hot meal.

Someone like you.

This is a compensated post, one of a series of four I’ll be doing about childhood hunger over the next month. Part of the compensation will go to the National Capital Food Bank, in gratitude for what they do.
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Comments (2)

  1. Natalie Monday - 05 / 04 / 2010 Reply
    Wow, total sadness. What a good cause to bring a message too! .-= Natalie´s last blog ..Grateful =-.
  2. This Belle Rocks Thursday - 15 / 04 / 2010 Reply
    What a wonderful idea. I will definitely check out the links you provided. I also tweeted it; hopefully others will see it.

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