• i failed to teach my kids about childhood hunger. did you?

    filed under: I Am Mommy on December 1, 2014

    We have a pretty good life.  We have a warm house and food to eat and books to read and toys to play with. My kids have never known true depravation.  They have always had a warm bed and clean clothes and full bellies. I recently was sent a video from Project Hatch.

    I watched the video and thought, “But my kids know better.  We remind them all the time about starving kids around the world.” Project Sunlight and Hatch Project: Stop Hunger Now and start at Home! So I decided to take a cue from the video and take my kids to the grocery store.  We sat down before hand a picked out a meal.  Colton picked spaghetti, Parker picked taco’s and Audrey picked macaroni and cheese.  They were each given $10 and they had to buy everything needed to prepare that meal for our family. (We have a family of 7) Project Sunlight and Hatch Project: Stop Hunger Now and start at Home! We left the house around 11:00, lunch time.  Only, we did not have lunch before we went.  I intentionally did not feed the kids anything in the hopes that at least one of them would recognize the familiar pang of hunger during our excursion and we could talk about it. Project Sunlight and Hatch Project: Stop Hunger Now and start at Home! Audrey was first to tackle her list.  With her $10 safely tucked in her pocket and the list in her hand, we went up and down the aisles looking for the items she would need to make her meal. For the first time ever, Audrey looked at prices. For the first time ever,  Audrey realized that the dollar bill in her pocket held a certain value and that the numbers on the price tags meant something. Project Sunlight and Hatch Project: Stop Hunger Now and start at Home! Next up was Colton.  He took his calculations and choices very, very seriously. For the first time ever, Colton learned about options.  He could see that the pasta sauce that he normally loved (that also happened to be organic) was a higher price then the generic counterpart. I could see the mental battle going on in his head.  I could see how he didn’t like having to chose between something he loved and having to make the best choice for his family.  He had realized that if he purchased the organic pasta sauce that he could only get a very small amount and that it would not be enough for everyone. Project Sunlight and Hatch Project: Stop Hunger Now and start at Home! Parker was last to go. His meal was taco’s and his list was the longest.  Parker loves soft shell tacos, but once he saw the price and saw the quantity, he knew that it would cost too much. He must have stood in front of those darn hard shell taco’s for five minutes, trying to figure out how he could make it work. In the end he did choose the cheapest hard shell taco he could find, knowing that there would be enough to feed all of us. For the first time ever, Parker had to make a choice between what was best for the family and what he wanted.  He had to cross many items off his list, like cheese and soft shells and lettuce.  He really started to understand that the foods we take for granted cost money and that it is important to be a wise steward of the money we have. Project Sunlight and Hatch Project: Stop Hunger Now and start at Home! By the time we got to the check out the kids were tired and, you guessed it, hungry. They wanted to badly just get something quick to eat at the store or stop at fast food, but that was not in the cards for us. Right in that moment, right when the uncomfortable hunger pains were at their worst we were going to talk about something that they needed to feel to understand. Some kids are always hungry.  And sadly, some even die from a lack of food.  They never get what their bodies craves and so desperately needs.
    The truth is, my kids didn’t know better about the trials people face with hunger.  But now we had an opportunity to teach them in a real and powerful way.
    changetheworld I think something changed in their hearts after our excursion.  It’s almost as if seeing the video, experiencing the grocery shopping and feeling the hunger planted a seed in their minds. We will talk more about this issue and we will make strides as a family to make a change!  I can’t help but feel thankful to SheKnows and Project Sunlight for reminding us that we CAN make a difference.



    About SheKnows’ Hatch, the Hatch Hunger Project and Unilever Project Sunlight:

    SheKnows’ Hatch teamed with Unilever Project Sunlight to help families build awareness and take action around child hunger in America. The facts are startling: 16 million kids living in the United States don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That equates to one in every five children – enough to fill 18,000 school buses and 223 football stadiums. On average, those who live in food-insecure households have only $36.50 to spend on groceries every week. That means that 80 percent of children may not understand the everyday struggle their peers – many of whom could be their own friends or neighbors – confront when there’s not enough food on the table. The Hatch Hunger and Project Sunlight video and workshop aims to create empathy by showing kids what it means to shop for healthy, filling meals for an entire week on a thrifty budget. It teaches important math and teamwork skills. Finally, it is about action, empowering kids to have a positive impact on their community to Share A Meal with a family in need and donating food and canned goods to local food banks.

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    Suggest editing “depravity” to “deprivation” ! But a great lesson and a great way to teach it; this is a wonderful post.

      Ah yes. Although true, not what I was intending. Thank you!

    Such a powerful post and a great reminder of what we need to teach our kids. xoxo

    Thank you for this Amanda. What a great lesson. I can’t wait to replicate it!

    I love this idea. I must do this with my kids. Thank you.

    What a great learning experience… I loved reading this, Amanda. Your children are so blessed to have a great mama who is teaching them to care for others and be empathetic. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Maddie is still a bit young to grasp all of it, but I’m trying to plant a seed with her. She always goes with me to pick up extras for the food bank and the collection they take at our church. I hope that as she starts to understand, she will have a heart for others, as well.

      More is caught than taught. You are doing it exactly right Jen!! Maddie is luck to have such an amazing mama!

    Wow, this is so amazing. Thank you SO much for sharing. I think this just made it on my “things to do for the holidays” list. My husband was already planning to take our oldest to pack food boxes, something his team at work does a few times a year, I think this would be a very eye opening experience to do as well.

      Sounds like you and your husband are doing pretty darn awesome at this whole parenting thing. 🙂

    Love this more than any cake or brownie. GREAT post.

    Object lessons really make an impact, just like this one! Bravo, Amanda, for your great example!

    Wow, what a powerful lesson for a child. I don’t have any children, but have to say that just reading about this experience made me stop and think about all the hungry kids in our country. The next time I’m at the grocery store and I see the food barrel, I will be sure to add a bag of groceries to help those in need.

    Many years ago when my kids were MUCH younger, I threw a tantrum at the dinner table. I had spent the day making this delicious dinner and suddenly no one was eating. (I found out later they all ate junk food after school). Anyways, I thought I would take that moment to talk about childhood hunger and starving children in places like Africa. I made a comment something along the lines of “there are starving chldren in Africa who would LOVE this meal. My oldest (who may have been around 10 at the time), replied with a sarcastic “then send this meal to Africa.”
    Ouch. Not the outcome I had been looking for, but it was a good wakeup call at the time that my kids had no idea what hunger is, and how little resources some people have available to them!
    I have had my older kids participate in the 30 hour famine, and it’s such a great tool. I’m going to have to look into this one too!! I love that you can do this with younger kids 🙂 Thanks for a great post!!

      I am going to have to check out that 30 hour famine!! Hugs girl!

    I am so in love with this post Amanda! SO well written and what a great thing you did for your kids. Even as an adult, I know there are things I take for granted every day. I forget that the choices I have to make everyday, though they seem tough, are nothing compared to the hard decisions that some people make every day. You taught your kids such a great lesson – not only about hunger and how fortunate they/we are, but the value of a dollar and how hard we work for those dollars and how quickly they are spent. Such a great lesson to learn at an early age. Sharing this!!

    Ok seriously this is the best parental lesson I have seen. You are such a wise mother. You are teaching your kids about what it truly takes financially to keep a family running, and this will truly pay off. Love this post. I will be coming to you for mom lessons when that time comes for sure.

      Ah shucks. Thanks girl! But I have a feeling you are going to be an amazing mom all on your own. 🙂

    Thank you Amanda. You not only helped plant a seed with your children, but for many of us as well. This is a brilliant way to teach children about hunger and I plan to reenact this learning experience with my own children. Thank you 🙂

    Wonderful, thought provoking stuff Amanda! And what a great way to teach them about budgeting too. I’m sure that if they start to understand the difficulties of feeding all seven of you in a wholesome and not bank-breaking way, they’ll turn into more thoughtful and responsible adults who won’t take food for granted.

    Hi Amanda, I agree with you, children must know about life & value of money, and thank God (and parents) we can go to market every day.
    I´ll do the same next day in the market with my dougther.
    Thanks for this briliant lesson.

    Kisses from Spain-Europe & scuse my english please.

    This is such an important lesson and such a powerful way to teach it! I often worry that my kids don’t understand how abundantly blessed they are. And I have to say that you are incredibly brave for taking them to the grocery store hungry! I am sure that that is exactly what drove the lesson home for them!

    I love this post so much. My boys are big fans of the phrase “Mama! I’m STAAARVING!” I’m trying to teach them that, no they are absolutely not, and there are people in this world who actually are.

    I love this post.

    I do not have children.

    I think sometimes I need to try this on my self. As an adult, I can pretty much have whatever food I want , whenever I want it. It wasn’t like that for me as a kid…we had lots of powdered milk & hamburger helper. But I guess I don’t remember being “hungry” like that.

    Very good thought provoking exercise!

    Bravo to you for making it real for your kiddos . We live such privileged lives and it follows that our children think, ” doesn’t everybody?” Hard to fathom that 1 in 5 is in need of good food. Every bit of sharing, no matter how small, does make a difference.

    Amanda, I love this post so much! I love the exercise you did with the kids. . I think sometimes I think they are too young to understand but they understand more than I think! Thank you for the reminder of how much we take for granted and the important lesson that we, the parents, need to be teaching and educating our children. . about everything. . love love love this. And your children are beautiful! Big hugs to each of them!

    Wow, what a powerful tool to each young kids! I grew up in a 3rd world country and see those who live in poverty on a daily basis. The air of hopelessness about them was so palpable it always broke my heart. I know when I try to explain it to my first born, she is not understanding it. Once she is older, I will use this tool. Perhaps we all can take it a step further and also teach our kids how we can impact society by serving those who are less fortunate than we are. Thank you for sharing this!

    Wow, great article.Much thanks again. Will read on

    Don't Pass on Dessert!