Did you know that over 20% of the kids in NJ are living in food-insecure homes?
I remember when hunger and the lack of food first became a harsh reality for me. In 1990 I was a new Case Manager at the South Jersey AIDS Alliance. A family came in to get a bag of groceries and Maria shared her story with me. A single mom with AIDS, she was raising her 2 grandchildren. They lived on a fixed income since she could no longer work. She had enough to pay the bills but struggled at the end of the month to feed her small family. I looked at the USDA food and thought “would I feed this to my daughter?”. The bag was filled with canned meats, veggies, rice, beans, cereal, canned fruit and powdered milk. This is what Maria would use for meals over the next week or so at home.
I vowed to stock our office pantry with things that were not only nutritious but would also allow the kids to not feel different at school. Some used the Free Lunch programs at school but back then it wasn’t very popular. My heart broke for the kids who wanted to take lunch like the other kids. My heart hurt for the kids who stood out because of the FREE lunch program stigma. My daughter shared her snacks with the kids she met in the office.
Fast forward to today – food pantries are stocked with more then just government commodities and the FREE lunch program is now accepted my more people. The old negative stigma has become a harsh reality for many.
Now, you have heard of the “Back to School” campaigns that provide kids with backpacks and school supplies, right? These programs each child start off the school year on the right foot.
This year, I will be providing THERMAL LUNCH TOTES to children. I am filling the thermals with a different kind of school supply – some healthy snacks along with a tip sheet on some inexpensive ideas to provide a healthy lunch for your kids. I mean let’s be honest, the FREE lunches sometimes do not have kid friendly foods. No hate mail PLEASE because I know that there are some places that have great meals but let’s be honest, not all of them do.
So, for $20, you can sponsor a thermal tote filled with healthy snacks for a child in need. If you want to help BUT you don’t have $20, donate what you can – $1, $2, $5, or $10. Finances are tight BUT you know a business that may want to help, GREAT! Let me know or forward this information to them. I will supply a list of business sponsors in every thermal tote along with blogging about them – FREE advertising for helping out a great cause. Where else could they get FREE advertising for $20 or $40?
Won’t you help? Fill out the form below with your information or contact me directly. Let’s bring a smile to the face of as many children as we can this school year.
Have ThirtyOne-derful day!