More than food for hungry kids - a caring community
Giving children opportunities to help their community contributes to a better understanding of civic responsibility and gives children a sense of empowerment. They experience first hand their ability to make a positive change in their communities. How many times a day do you open your refrigerator and yell to your Mom or Dad, "There's nothing to eat?" How many times a day do you say "I'm starving!" when you just ate? Imagine the little kid who opens up his or her refrigerator and there really is nothing to eat. Many children, when they say "I'm starving," mean it.
HUNGER IN AMERICA
We've all seen the images on the television news: starving children in faraway places like the Sudan, Ethiopia, and Liberia. But the fact is kids in America are starving, too. Close to 13 million children in our own country are at serious risk of being undernourished. Food and fuel prices skyrocket and the demand for emergency food increases, yet food donations have plummeted. In the past few months, visits to food pantries by people who require emergency food have increased 30% while local food donations are down by 15%. Nationwide one in five children live in low income, working families. One of the most disturbing and extraordinary aspects of life in this very wealthy country is the persistence of hunger. The cost to America associated with childhood poverty and hunger in terms of lost economic productivity, higher crime and poorer health is $500 billion per year or 4% of the GDP (Institute for Research on Poverty, 2007).
Childhood Hunger in Northeast Georgia
Children are often the hardest hit when hunger strikes -- simply because their small bodies store fewer reserves of fat, water, and nutrients. In short, when the hard times come, kids are the ones likely to suffer the most. It is indeed a sad reality that one out of every three people - a staggering 19,000 of those seeking our services in northeast Georgia - are children living in poverty. Hunger and malnutrition impair children's mental, physical and social development, contributing to increased absenteeism and lower academic performance.