We live in a great nation with many examples of people working hard to care for their communities. And yet, there is a problem that many don’t recognize, so too few are working to solve. According to recent U.S.D.A. data, 37 million people in America face hunger and, no matter where you live, hunger is close by. In every county, no matter how affluent there are neighbors facing hunger. So, in your neighborhood, there are likely many students, seniors and parents struggling to make ends meet. Feeding America was built on the premise that, in this remarkable country, no one should experience hunger.
I am one of the 108 children raised by my mom and dad. Though of humble beginnings, they practiced the belief that people should give whatever they can to help their neighbors in need. My parents’ incredible compassion showed me firsthand how to build a better world, one action at a time.
And, though I know that kindness makes a meaningful difference in the world, I am fully aware that hunger in America is a complex problem that will not be easily solved. In spite of that truth, I am optimistic. One thing that fuels my optimism is the simple truth that every successful movement started with regular individuals — people like me and you — standing up for what’s right. People who refused to accept the status quo. People who expected more and were willing to fight for it.
September is Hunger Action Month, Feeding America’s annual month-long campaign that raises awareness of food insecurity in the United States and mobilizes the public to get involved to help end hunger. Together we make the needed change happen.
This year, we at Feeding America have issued a challenge, 40,000 actions to solve hunger — actions designed to end hunger “one helping at a time.” We need your help. Just follow these steps to get started.
Donate your time — it’s good for you and your community.
Donate your time. Washington University has found that older adults who volunteer maintain their health longer than others their age. A study from The University of Texas found that community involvement can help lower depression and anxiety. Additionally, the Harvard Business Review found that giving time to community causes actually makes people feel like they have more time.
Over half of the 60,000 soup kitchens, food pantries and other meal programs that partner with Feeding America food bank rely entirely on volunteers. By sharing a few hours in your community, you can help them do more good — and even experience some hidden benefits too. To get involved in your community, check out Feeding America’s food bank finder.
Donate — a little cash from a lot of people equals a whole lot of meals, since $1 can provide 10 meals to hungry families.
Giving cash to causes can be an incredibly impactful way of helping people in need. At Feeding America, we can turn a donated dollar into more meals because of our partnerships with major food donors. For example, by working directly with farmers, we help ensure that healthy fruits and vegetables that don’t make it to the grocery store reach families in need instead of landfills. When you support Feeding America, not only are you contributing to people facing hunger — you are also creating a more sustainable world.
Raise your voice — lending yours to this movement can help draw attention in a cluttered digital world.
Social media is a powerful tool. In our fast-paced, tech-driven world, social platforms sometimes fuel unhealthy comparisons and sensational stories. But they can also be leveraged for good. Whether it’s a statistic that surprised you, a call for support, or a story of impact, you can help local organizations by sharing content about them on social media. Your efforts can go a long way in raising awareness of your commitment and encouraging others to join the fight.
When kind-hearted people join forces with charities, they can strengthen their communities to reach for a better day. A subject like hunger is difficult and nuanced and it will take all of us working together to make progress. I hope you’ll begin giving back locally — and consider joining me in supporting Hunger Action Month — so we can reach even more of our struggling neighbors and create a nation where everyone can succeed.