Today, October 16th, is World Food Day. Established as a day to recognize the fact that while one in seven people internationally suffers from hunger although the resources exist to make sure no one goes hungry, World Food Day is a stark reminder that for some people, meeting even basic needs is impossible. Astonishingly, after visiting the World Food Day website, I learned that of the 90 million people worldwide who suffer from hunger, 70 percent live in rural areas where agriculture is the economic mainstay of the community. Coming from a rural area myself, this statistic seems particularly brutal. Imagine living next door to flourishing crops and being unable to feed your children. Luckily for many in the United States, this is unimaginable. However, hunger is a reality for many in the United States, as prosperous as we consider ourselves. According to Feeding America’s website, 50.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households in 2011, with a staggering 16.7 million children impacted.
Teaching our children compassion is important, but taking compassion to comp-action is also important. After all, most people get weepy when they see a commercial for starving children in Africa, but how many people do something about it? Teaching your children that there is a way to be an activist is incredibly valuable. So what can you do in honor of World Food Day? Take your family grocery shopping and buy things for a local food pantry. Volunteer at a local food pantry or soup kitchen. Hold a fundraiser and send the proceeds to an organization that fights hunger and poverty. Whatever you do, involve your child each step of the way. Volunteering doesn’t just do good for the community, it also does good for the volunteer. Children will feel empowered and engaged in their community, and will carry that independence and dedication forward with them into all aspects of life.
What are you doing with your family for World Food Day?