I’ve spent a great many hours thinking about food over the last three months. Since I bought a treadmill and cut out most carbs, I’ve dedicated myself to losing weight…just enough to make the pants fit better and the abs return to a tighter look. In the process, I’ve read articles about hunger in America. Now, statistics can be misleading, interpreted to support one cause or another, or simply misstated, but this one stopped me cold: thirteen MILLION hungry children in the US alone. Thirteen million. Children. Little kids who go hungry at home, come to school hungry, live in food deserts, worry about where the next meal will come from.  Thirteen million…

When the nightly news did a segment mid-October about lunch-shaming, my concern grew. A school in New Jersey, facing the fact that their books were in the red because parents were unable to pay for their children’s lunches or simply refused to do so, was desperate to find a way to recover the expenses. The staff resorted to refusing to serve those children food, humiliating the children in front of peers, or keeping the kids from activities. I lamented the fact to my husband, who calmly said, “Do something, Jan.” So, I did. I named my project “Take A Kid To Lunch” and invited my facebook friends to consider signing up. I contacted my local school about the need for help in this area. The administration confirmed the need is real, universal, and, in some places, overwhelming. Our local school and one other adjoining town have already set up donation funds for student meal account debts. Other districts are being contacted.

The response has been heart-warming and humbling. So much goodness exists, yet all we hear is the bad. As our nation reels toward our most universal holiday, I give thanks for the bounty in my life and I seek a way to extend those blessings to others. Children are always my main concern. Every act of kindness reaps a reward along the time line of our lives. We may not see the outcome, but it is there.

Interested in taking this step? Check with your local district to see if there is a need. Some school districts qualify for federal food programs, but many more do not. Those that do may need socks and shoes, or weekends food backpacks. Together, we can reduce that thirteen million number, maybe even eliminate it completely.

I am thankful for each and every blessing in my life. You are one of those blessings. May you find strength, warmth, and a hand to hold as you journey on.