My husband, Jason and I have volunteered to take on a project within our church. It is led by our pastor and a few other church and community members to end hunger in our zip code, 32507. Hence the name, 325 Zero Hunger.
As a mom of young children, I cannot imagine not being able to feed my child until they were full. Or having to go hungry myself in order for my child to eat. However, that is the reality in many homes in our area, and across the country.
I looked up a few facts from an article called “Hungry Games” written by Jessica Forbes just for my own information and for this post. In our first meeting, we discussed ways of going about this rather daunting task. We have started with children and using schools as a way to find those in need. This article has chosen school age children as well to narrow focus.
“Over 60 percent of Escambia County public school students, roughly 24,000 children, rely on the school system for at least two free or reduced price meals a day during the school year. (…) Approximately 1,500 to 2,000 of the 24,000 eligible students will receive meals during a part of the summer provided through the USDA programs. The remaining 22,000 are left to make other arrangements.”
I was in awe of that number, thinking how many families struggle to put meals on the table. In our meeting, we discussed defining “food insecurity” more specifically.
Food insecurity: “The limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.”
Found on othersociologist.com
Even though, there are a few programs in place already to help feed the hungry in this area. However, other volunteers for 325 Zero Hunger would be the first to say they have seen many gaps that need to be filled. They know because of their long work experience in these other programs:
- Backpack programs that give school kids food to take home over the weekends
- School lunch programs that give reduced price or free meals to kids
- Frozen food programs (like One Harvest) that can be purchased and passed out to those who need it
- Food banks through churches or other organizations that distribute food throughout our city and counties
- Homeless and other outreaching food distribution with a large scale focus
Also, there are several that the article touched on for school age kids to find food during the summer when school is out.
While we are not certain of all the specific ways that this organization will work to achieve its goal, I am looking forward to helping as much as we can.
Meanwhile, keep looking out for more posts as I also try to raise these crazy kiddos of ours. I couldn’t help but feel heartbroken in researching for this post. It made me glad I signed up to assist and also want to hug my children close and say a prayer of gratitude for everything God has given us.