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Monday, September 2, 2013

Help End Childhood Hunger & Go Orange for No Kid Hungry

September is Hunger Action Month! To commemorate, this post is dedicated to the unsung heroes behind the kitchen counters at our neighborhood schools. You may not know them by name but your kids do. It's the lunch lady! This fact was brought to my attention a couple times by my niece. For Christmas Emma got a new gaming device that also had a camera function. As she proudly showed off all the gizmo's Emma also smilingly showed me a picture of a woman. I asked, "whose that?" And she responded, "my lunch lady, Trish."

Fast forward a couple years and the family is at the lake house celebrating her brother's 13th birthday. While talking by the fire pit her grandma and mom commented that Emma seems depressed. So, I  put my aunt hat on and waited for the right moment. I noticed my opening and sat down alone with Emma along the shore and asked what was bothering her? On her mind was Trish. Emma and her best friends had grown very found of their lunch lady. According to Emma: Trish showed them around the kitchen, genuinely cared and asked every day how their day was going and at times cooked them a special treat. The sad part was the girls were moving to junior high and would not see Trish anymore. Emma went on to tell me that the girls bought a cake and presented it to Trish the very last day of school. At this moment, I was such a proud aunt and a bit teary-eyed learning of this sign of gratitude from the girls. Most of all, very thankful to Emma's lunch lady for obviously being there for her when she needed someone to be kind to her in those awkward pre-tween years.

My niece lives in the suburbs; however, in other parts of the city the "lunch lady" has a similar but also a much different connotation. They are also the friendly face the kids see every day but to some of these kids she presents them with the only warm meal they may have that entire day. I have three dear friends who are and have been lunch ladies. They've each shared with me how sad they are when school is out because they worry about "their kids" being fed. population-we™ has reported on a nonprofit who tries to combat this hunger problem in South Omaha with a Kids Café and a backpack program. Read the  population-we™ post on Completely Kids fight against hunger. However, when I learned that a nationwide campaign by No Kid Hungry is taking place this month--I knew we had to let our readers who reside in other states know about this effort to end childhood hunger, too.

Because of the stories I've heard from my friends (Keely, Sue & Mary), I have a different thought when we have snow days in Omaha. Most kids or parents are a flurry on Facebook with utter happiness. But at that moment, I'm thinking of the kids who may not get a hot meal that day because school is cancelled. This reality is realer than you know because according to the No Kid Hungry website, "More than 16 million kids in America live in a household that struggles to put food on the table." Knowing this fact, let's commit to do something about this ugly reality! Help No Kid Hungry help eradicate hunger in the U.S. by going orange for Hunger in Action Month. So far more than 421,369 people have joined and pledged to help end childhood hunger. Please join team No Kid Hungry! There are several ways population-we™ readers can help.

They are:

Every $10 you give can connect hungry children with 100 meals.

Eat Out.
The entire month, restaurants nationwide are showing their support by offering special promotions that benefit the campaign. 

Lead a Cooking Matters at the Store Course.

Talk to a Congress Person.
Tell Congress: Federal nutrition programs are crucial for hungry children.

Spread Awareness.
Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.

Go Orange.
During hunger awareness month, you can add your support to the No Kid Hungry campaign by turning your social media profiles orange and letting your friends and family know you care about ending childhood hunger. We did. This entire post is written in orange to show our support!

Visit the No Kid Hungry website for details on all of the above.

I hope by reading this post our readers come to realize there is a real hunger problem in the U.S. and will take action this month and help kids not grow up hungry! And, most importantly--thank your kids lunch lady!

(Editor's note: Go orange! The entire month of September all population-we™ posts will be written in orange to aid No Kid Hungry's effort to bring attention to their nonprofit's cause and help end childhood hunger in the U.S.)

-population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2013 population-we, LLC 
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