Brrrrr…it’s cold outside.
This week here in New York, we have seen the temperature drop significantly. Each morning as I awake, I hear the wind whipping outside my bedroom window and I choose to snuggle a little longer in my cozy bed in my comfortably heated home. I know how fortunate I am. I have two working parents that provide a warm home for my brother and me. We might complain when we have to walk our dog in this frigid temperature but we know that soon we will be back in the warmth of our house – the place where all my basic needs are met, including food that is always readily available.
During this holiday season, I can’t help but think of the people who are not as fortunate. I have seen firsthand families that do not have a place to call home. I see parents struggling to find a hot meal to provide for their children. I have never been to a third-world country, but ironically hunger exists nearby in my own state. From what I have learned, this is happening across our country. I regularly volunteer at local soup kitchens and food pantries and witness this reality.
While this situation seems dismal, there is help and support available for children. Recently I wrote about School Breakfast Programs. This is important as schools can provide free meals to needy children and the schools are reimbursed by the federal government. However, school breakfast is not the only program. School lunch programs have been successfully feeding children for decades and now Afterschool Meal Programs have become more readily available. Kids that might not get dinner at home each night can now get a full meal at their after school programs. These meals can be easily accessible and they too are funded by the federal government (USDA).
More information on Afterschool Meal Programs and others are available through the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) and the USDA. FRAC is the leading national nonprofit organization working to improve public policies and public-private partnerships to eradicate hunger and under nutrition in the United States. You can visit ww.frac.org for additional information.
During this upcoming holiday season, I remain grateful for all I have yet I cannot help but think about children who need so much more.