In this season of giving, there are many who need a gift of nutrition.
This holiday season, as we all seek to find places to donate to a worthy cause before the year ends, perhaps we should consider one of the many organizations that support health and wellness with nutrition.
Our support of causes that give food to those with few resources, help spread the goal of family farms and sustainable growing practices, feed hungry kids, provide vulnerable seniors with nutritious meals, connect kids with knowledge of where their food comes from, and provide education so that people will have a healthy future with the food they choose is one that we can and should all get behind.
Hunger and food insecurity affects too many of our nation’s population — 1 in 5 kids and 1 in 7 adults, including 9.6 million seniors — to be ignored.
Our donations, whether in the form of money or time, will make an impact on the health of our nation.
Affects of Hunger
Hunger has far reaching effects in our children and older adults.
Did you know:
- 20% of food-insecure children live in households that earn too much to qualify for most federal nutrition assistance
- Children who are hungry are more likely to repeat a grade in school
- Hungry kids have more behavioral and social problems
- Food insecure kids have developmental impairments in language and motor skills
- Some seniors in our country choose medications over food when on a fixed income because they can’t afford both
- Poor nutrition for seniors can result in muscle loss, more frequent falls, and the inability to age in place
- 3 out of 5 seniors who qualify for SNAP benefits to purchase food don’t participate
People need help to learn how to improve their health through nutrition.
Causes Looking for Support
These are just a few organizations, there are more, and causes that need your support to improve nutritional health for Americans.
- No Kid Hungry – they strive to connect kids with the nutritional foods they need by working with summer feeding programs and school breakfast. Through their various initiatives including Cooking Matters people across the country are learning about the importance of good nutrition and how to use the resources they have to improve their meals. They have provided 500 million meals to hungry kids since they began six years ago.
- Feeding America – they support public food assistance programs such as WIC, SNAP, and the school lunch program, food banks, providing meals and working on public tax policies for future nutrition strategies.
- Meals on Wheels – federally funded home delivery of meals that are nutritious. It also serves as a check in on homebound seniors who may be at risk in the community. It runs on volunteers and fundraising to continue to provide the most meals possible. There is a nutrition education component that helps seniors learn health eating behaviors.
- Local Food Pantry or Food Bank – with food and money donations from partners in the community they provide needy families with food.
- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) eligibility and education programs – this program gives eligible participants (young and old) help with food purchases at local markets and farmer’s markets, formerly known as food stamps.
- Farmer’s Market – buying fresh foods in season from local farmers.
- School Gardens or Community Gardens – growing produce from the ground up, planning and cultivating food, learning where their food comes from and incorporating gardening principles in all aspects of the curriculum spurs lifelong healthy eating habits. Community gardens can help city dwellers have a place to grow their own fresh produce, it serves as a socialization avenue and increases civic pride.
- National School Lunch Program and Summer Food Service Program – provides many children a nutritious breakfast, lunch and in some areas afterschool snack. The summer program provides daily meals to kids who are food insecure. Many areas also give backpacks filled with food for the weekend to those kids who have little access to food not served during school days.
Ways You Can Give Without Your Wallet
There are many ways the everyday things that you do can year-round help support the fight against hunger.
Did you know that buying certain food items at the grocery store will result in meals going to families in need? Unilever has been helping Feeding America since 2010. When you purchase some of their products, they donate one meal for each product purchased to hungry families.
During the month of September, if you dine out in restaurants partnering with No Kid Hungry, your meal will result in donated meals provided to kids who need nutrition.
Volunteer opportunities abound for you to take action, such as assisting your local school begin or cultivate their school garden, coordinate local fundraising for weekend backpacks for kids who have no meals over the weekend, help seniors access benefits who need them to get healthy foods, volunteer at your local food bank or bring them foods, start your own local food drive, or promote the cause to fight hunger through social media or blogging efforts.
Raising awareness on the issue of hunger and food insecurity will be vital to get food into the hands of those who need it the most. There are organizations such as Food Tank and AARP that increase advocacy and awareness that you can join.
You can also contact your government officials to urge them to make feeding hungry Americans a priority with policies and funding sources.
We can all donate our time, treasure and talent to help others have better health through nutritional well-being.
The time is now to get involved!
We all thank you!