Thousands Rally-Virtually and Actually-to End Child Hunger

In a world where the front porch has been replaced by the computer monitor, it’s been refreshing to watch the community efforts take place around the “ConAgra Foods’ Childhood Hunger Ends Here” Neighborhood Rally campaign.

Fourteen bloggers in different cities are hosting their own Neighborhood Rallies, and the main kickoff party was held- where else? On Wisteria Lane. On April 7, Dana Delany from Desperate Housewives staged a rally in her fictional neighborhood.

As she put it, “One of the things I love most about Desperate Housewives is that no matter what happens on Wisteria Lane, all of the neighbors always rally together when the need is critical…and with nearly one in four children facing hunger in our communities and neighborhoods, we have to rally together to help end child hunger, here and now.”

On March 28, House Party hosted mini-rallies to boost awareness of childhood hunger and the ways we can all combat it. People took time out of their day to gather and think about real solutions. One party talk I read said something they chose to do was NOT eat at the party. I thought that was a cool re-allocation of resources.

To date, more than 850 Child Hunger Ends Here House Parties were held throughout the country to rally against child hunger, with more than 10,000 people showing up.

From in-home dinner parties to church functions to play dates, people showed their commitment to making sure that not just their own kids were well fed, but those they may not know.

An additional 150 rallies will take place over the following weeks – and 400 more rallies (with more than 25,000 anticipated attendees) have been registered online. How cool is that? This invisible problem that affects more than 17 million American children is getting some serious brainpower devoted to it.

So what can we do now? A few things:

Go grocery shopping – The ConAgra Foods Giving Back program is still in effect. From March through May, for every purchase of a participating ConAgra Foods brand, the company will donate one meal to Feeding America – up to 2.5 million meals this year. Participating brands include Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Healthy Choice, Manwich, Marie Callender’s, Orville Redenbacher’s, and Peter Pan peanut butter. (I’m pretty much living on Orville Redenbacher right now, so I’m doing my part in that area. Why is popcorn SO GOOD???)

Visit the Virtual Rally – Dana Delany, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Evan Lysacek, Kathy Ireland and many others donated items for the Child Hunger Ends Here Online Celebrity Rummage Sale. It’s open until May 4th, run through Clothes Off Our Back, and the proceeds from this online auction will be donated to Feeding America. So you can score a Nicole Miller dress AND help kids? Win/Win.

And, of course, keep Spreading the Word – You can help raise awareness about childhood hunger by visiting  www.childhungerendshere.com.  For the latest Child Hunger Ends Here updates, please visit them on  Facebook and Twitter.  Photos and videos of your rallies may be uploaded to their  FlickR and YouTube channels, as well.

So how about you? Any plans to host or attend a rally in your area? And how do you talk to your kids about childhood hunger? I’ve been trying to engage mine in terms of not being wasteful, without getting too “There are starving children!” on them – the thirteen year old gets it, but is a human vacuum cleaner for food – I swear he grows six inches a night.

The six and the three year olds just don’t have a concept of scarcity, and I don’t really want them to- so I try to emphasize being appreciative and grateful for the food they have. (With the three year old, you can imagine how well that goes- especially because every dinner begins with him saying, “THIS? I no like to eat THIS. I done!” and him trying to leave.

“This” could be anything, he just has to try it before I reel him back in, Judy Blume’s immortal words “Eat it or wear it” running through my mind, but stopping just short of my lips.

Do your kids have empathy for kids who may be hungry, and if so, how are you teaching it?

Danielle from Extraordinary Mommy is hosting “Lemonade Stand Saturdays” in May, which I think is a fantabulous way to teach empathy while helping to end childhood hunger.  We may have to set up our card table. Check it out!

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