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Hungry Children: Feeding Starving Children Right Here in the USA

Updated on October 18, 2021
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He does not know hunger

This precious little boy does not go to bed hungry....and for that we are so thankful.
This precious little boy does not go to bed hungry....and for that we are so thankful. | Source

It is our problem

Hunger in America is a very real issue. Hunger globally is a serious issue that each of us should know about and make efforts to help curb.

Hungry children is a public disgrace. Each of us who goes to bed without feeling the pangs of hunger gnawing at our bellies should feel shame and guilt in the knowledge that even one child longs for food to quell hunger pains.

Many children go to school to eat two meals that they may not have had at home. While school food is a controversial topic, some food is better than no food for a starving child. There were children in my classrooms who not only ate what was on the tray that held their food but would gladly welcome 'seconds'.

The reason that the child is not getting enough food at home could be very simply low income. Income that is not sufficient to feed, house, and clothe one child and certainly not more than one. It could also be misuse of public assistance that is received. It really does not change anything to know the cause. That is another story for another day.

If you can't feed one hundred people, then feed just one

— ~~Mother Teresa

Right in Your Neighborhood or Town There is Need

There are children every day, in every corner of the world, that are h u n g r y. It is our job to help feed them.

This may cause your jaws to tighten and for you to throw up your hands and say, "You expect me to save everyone!!"

And, no not everyone.

Just those that you can. The ones that live down the road, down the street, or within the town where you reside. And, not all of those either. Helping one family would be a start. And as we know, some do not welcome 'charity' from individuals but from social service agencies, schools, or ministers help is often welcome. Find a way to help.

You may have financial problems of your own that do not allow you to freely donate money or food to help others. Whatever you can give in money or in foodstuffs will make a difference.

We do not need to look for some far off corner of the world to do so. Look around your community and you will be able to find children who are hungry. And while your offer of food may not be welcome from you personally, it probably will be accepted through a social service agency, a school, or a minister in your town.

Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity. It is an act of justice.

— ~~Nelson Mandela

The Statistics are Alarming and Heinous

The one that hit home hardest to me is the one stating almost nine million children die before reaching the age of 5!!!

That boggles my mind. And all of it is not from hunger but most of it is from the underlying cause of hunger, poverty.

With all of the advances that have been made in all areas of living worldwide, this statistic should not exist.


Being malnourished means that an individual is not receiving enough nourishing food. The food does not supply proper amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals, and calories to provide proper mental and physical development.

Brothers who do not go to bed hungry


Did you know?

  • Almost 9 million children die (globally) before reaching age 5.
  • Hunger and malnutrition were either directly or indirectly responsible for about 1/3 of those deaths. .
  • Malnourished children suffer damage that is not reversible: physically they do not develop properly, immune systems are compromised, and cognition is not up to par. Any or all of these can occur if that child is fortunate to survive early childhood.
  • Florida, New Mexico, the District of Columbia, Oregon, and Arizona were the top states with the highest rate of children under the ago of 18 living in food insecure situations.
  • Massachusetts, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Minnesota were the top five states that had the the lowest rate of children under age 18 living in insecure food situations The information cited is from the year 2010.

Hungry in DC..

What is wrong with this picture? It is bad enough that children are hungry anywhere, in any state, in any nation. Bit in the District of Columbia? Our nation's capitol.

How can it be so that where some of the most influential individuals in our nation live and work there are children who every day long for the food they need to fill their tummies.

How can it be?

Wake up, America. Send a letter to congress man or woman and tell them it is a disgrace and they should DO whatever it takes to end hunger in DC and across our nation.

Around the world, do the same. Contact your leaders and let your voice and your concerns be heard. WE are the voice of our children.

Hunger is not a problem. It is an obscenity.

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve teh world.

— ~~Anne Frank

Do you feel a need to help the hungry children in your town?

See results

Reality set in....

My first years of teaching were in low socioeconomic schools. This remark is not a slam or an insult to any group of individuals. It was just the case. As a matter of fact, the first school I taught in was integrated only via the teachers. There were no white students at the school and the school was considered to be 'across the tracks." A term I really did not understand until I found out that the schools 'across the tracks' were not given the same materials and tools that the schools in the white zones were. Wow, what a rude awakening for a first year teacher.

However I digress. The children in that school came to school primarily to eat. They ate breakfast and lunch and they ate it all. This was in the early seventies.

Almost ten years later I taught in another state (am refraining from naming states) and again taught in a low socio-economic school. And, again most of those children came to school hungry.

There simply was not enough food at home to feed them. The reasons may have been ones that we can debate and become angry about but the fact remained the children were hungry and many remain so today.


Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Abraham Maslow studied psychology and went on to pursue his interest in this topic. He developed the hierarchy of needs that are considered by many to be the needs that we all have.

The pyramid includes the steps in his hierarchy and the very foundation of it is physiological needs. Those are the basic needs we all have: the need for --among them are food, air, water, sex, and excretion. These needs must be met first Maslow determined before moving on to the other levels of needs on the pyramid.

For the hungry children in our world who never have their need for food met, too often death is the result and the opportunity to climb up the hierarchy is never possible.

A lesson learned

In my first grade class 38 years ago, I had a little boy who came to school to eat. He came to eat breakfast and lunch and whatever snack was provided within the classroom throughout the day. The emphasis in his home was not on learning. It was not anywhere in Maslow's hierarchy of needs at any time that he was in my class for his family.

This family was on survival mode. They tried to survive from one meager paycheck to the next and it never stretched far enough.

Before I discovered that he came to school to be fed, I made a grave error that I never ever repeated. He seldom made any attempt to do any of the assigned tasks for the day. No matter what I did he would do little or nothing. He was content to sit with his head down on his desk.

So in all of my wisdom (or should I say, lack of wisdom), I told him if he did not get his work done he could not go to lunch with our class on one particular day . He would have to sit in another class till his work was done and then he could go to lunch with that class.

He had never shown any type of reaction before this incident. But no sooner were the words out of my mouth, than huge tears formed in his amazing chestnut brown eyes, cascading down his flawless cheeks, down his neck, and coming to rest in a puddle on his chest. His heart was broken. His fear was real. His desperation palpable. He only heard "you will not go to lunch."

He came to school because he would find food there.

What a lesson I learned that day. I learned that I would find another way to motivate any child to get the job done with assigned tasks. Never ever after that day did I suggest that a basic need would be withheld at any point throughout our day even for a little while.

A few days later that sweet boy was absent from school. He was usually the first to arrive every day. When he came back the next day, I asked him where he had been. He said, "Oh, I was home 'cuz I couldn't find my other shoe." Casually glancing at his feet, I could see that the shoes he had on were two sizes too big...his brother's shoes. That evening a good fairy bought a pair of shoes for him and placed him by his desk the next morning in a brown paper bag. He peeked in the bag and looked at me and a thank you smile appeared. No words were spoken. None were necessary.

What you can do...

Throw up your hands in frustration?? Become angry because once again the burdens of others are being presented to you as somehow they are your problem?

Certainly not. This is about choice. You can choose to help make life better for one child or for many children or not. It really is that simple.

Donate money or food to a food bank, to a school, to your church outreach programs. Do it locally.

If you are not sure who the hungry children are, contact your local schools, city council, or other organizations that do know.

if there is no agency in your town that is responsible for collecting money to purchase food or to collect food, organize a group of friends and neighbors and begin your own local food bank.

One child at a time we can begin to make a difference.

© 2013 Patricia Scott


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