My grandma used to tell me, “The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.” I've heard several iterations of that phrase throughout my life. They say one cannot think well, sleep well or love well if one has not dined well. Love of food is the sincerest love in the world.
Food is medicine. Food aids forgiveness. The stomach, after all, rules the mind.
But what about people who don't have food? To me that is one of the worst things in the world; Not being able to walk to the refrigerator and grab a leisurely snack anytime of the day or night. After experiencing bouts of food insecurity as a child, I've worked with a lot of child hunger organizations and the statistics never fail to shock me, especially the ones that come from within our own community. Over 20% of children in America live in poverty. These are kids who our children go to school with. They're in our churches, club sports, extracurriculars.
I've been working with Feed the Children – one of the world's leading anti-hunger organizations – and learned that in their home state of Oklahoma, food insecurity is an ongoing battle. The school lunch program that lower-income families in the state depend on shuts down for summer break, which means roughly 300,000 children are left without a stable source of nutrition. Nate used to live in rural Oklahoma and has told me over the years about the difficulties people faced in his area: no job security, very few resources, nowhere to turn for help. These difficulties ultimately caused his family to leave a state that they loved.
Feed the Children has started the The Oklahoma Summer Food and Education Program to help unite organizations to defeat hunger, getting existing agencies involved with programs in need such as USDA’s Summer Food Service Program. They're getting the word out and helping hunger relief efforts around the world work in a more cohesive manner, looking at evidence-based approaches to address child hunger.
Join me at the Feed the Children tweet-up on Wednesday, July 9, at 1 PM EST to #HelpKidsBeKids. By working together, we can help pilot a world where children get the nutrition they need to realize their full potential.