* Food for Kids *
How to give food to hungry kids and families
by Susan Helene Kramer
This page is about hunger, and what each of us can do to help alleviate it, starting right in our community or via the internet.
The photo at right is me in 1949. During my early years we often ate pancakes for supper, because my father was finishing high school and going to college after WWII, having left school after 11th grade to join the Navy and fight the war.
It seems that almost every generation has periods of hunger. But today we are so lucky to have the internet to find out where there is need and to be able to give online or through food drives and food banks in our community.
Here are two stories about ways to give. The first is how my father gave as an adult and the second story is how to give to kids in schools.
My choice for online giving is Santa Barbara County Foodbank. It serves the area where several of my grandkids go to school, and that makes it dear to my heart.
1. Giving Food to Hungry Families
One of the greatest lessons I learned from my father was giving. Helping out others less fortunate was a task he took to heart.
One way to help out in these downtrodden times for many is through sharing our food, making gifts of food to children who would otherwise go hungry on weekends, when they would not be eating their free breakfast and lunch at the local elementary school.
My father did not want to go public with his donations, so what he would do is go food shopping after dark and leave the bags of groceries on the doorsteps of the families in need.
He could give, and being painfully shy, not have to be present for a thank you. He was a year round Santa to many families along the river where I grew up.
Sometimes it is hard to learn from what our parents tell us to do, but just this example of his kindness in the face of need was an example that opened my eyes to seeing the need wherever I lived.
I use the lesson from my father who eventually passed out of this life in a quiet manner; his obituary reading that he had enjoyed swimming, sailing, and fishing along the river. But, I knew that way beyond that he served the needs of families less fortunate in the community in unseen ways of giving out free food, which helped others and made him feel good about himself.
Buying food for others need not cost you more. For example, by buying your family a less expensive dessert, you can feed a family a supper of peanut butter and graham crackers, which are non-perishable items and excellent donations.
Use your talents to develop yourself, and you may find you can help others less fortunate, too.
2. Food Drives for Your Community School
I'd like to request that as a special gift to your community, that you check with your local elementary school to see if there are children not eating dinner or not eating on weekends, and to organize a food drive if there's a need. There is hunger in America, too.
For donations pick items kids can open most easily without help. Suggestions include: food packaged in boxes, cans with pop tops, jars with screw lids, food packaged in bags, and no perishable foods. Buying food for others need not cost you more. For example, by buying your family a less expensive brand of ice cream you can feed a family a supper of peanut butter and graham crackers.
Giving to the community is practical spirituality in action and not limited to church groups. Buying food for others need not cost your more. For example, by buying your family a less expensive brand of icecream you can feed a family a supper of peanut butter and graham crackers.
Service to the children in our community is an extension of caring for our own family. We are part of an individual family, then community family, extending into world family.
The drive to care and give springs from our consciousness that has been opened and expanded by many sessions in meditation and deep reflection. Why else meditate then to grow in spiritual consciousness, to grow into the full awareness of our humanity.
As the boundaries of selfishness dissolve, the ability and energy come to us in how to provide for more than ourselves. As meditation melts away personal limitations in thinking, more and more ideas come to mind in how to care for our fellow human beings. Growth in consciousness is progressive and what begins as an individual giving event can grow into a regular giving routine.
Children are hungry every day and need nourishing food to fuel their growing bodies. Children are our future and it is our job to give them the best care we possibly can.
Kids need to eat during the days away from school. Many schools have a free breakfast and lunch program, Monday to Friday. Action on the part of each of us can help fill the children's stomachs on Saturday and Sunday.
Contacting the school office is the place to start to get the ball rolling.
updated December 16, 2009; July 23, 2013