How will you help during Hunger Action Month?

Did you know that September is Hunger Action MonthTM? The goal of Hunger Action Month is to shine a light on the pervasive problem of food insecurity in the United States and to call citizens into action to help raise awareness, food and funds.

The economic and financial crisis of 2008 hit Americans hard and a byproduct of the slow road to recovery has been increased food instability and a change in the perceived face of the hungry. In fact, 41% of households utilizing a food bank include a person with a post high school education.

The scope of hunger in America is shocking. According to a 2014 study by Feeding America, 1 in 7 people, that’s 46.5 million, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors, utilize a food bank.

A final statistic to consider is the fact that 1 in 5 American children are food insecure. Childhood hunger is especially worrisome since empty stomachs stand in the way of children growing, learning, developing and simply enjoying childhood.

The statistics are staggering and may leave many feeling their small efforts simply won’t make a difference. But the truth is that every little bit helps someone who is facing hunger. This sentiment is best expressed in the famous words of Mother Teresa, “If you can’t feed 100 people, just feed one.”

Will you help feed just one person? Below are just a few ideas of how you can get involved in Hunger Action Month:

  • Advocate. Use your voice to spread the word about hunger in your community. Social media has made this quite easy to do. Alert your online community that we are in the midst of Hunger Action Month and about the plight of the hungry in their own backyards. Share quotes and statistics about hunger and ask them to support their local hunger relief organization.

  • Volunteer. Most food banks, pantries and soup kitchens rely on volunteers to make their operations work. Volunteers can sort donations, stock shelves and help with distribution. Volunteers can also frequently help from home in the form of virtual volunteering. Contact your local hunger relief organization to see if you can utilize your specific skills to help them with business operations like accounting, marketing, website and administration.

  • Run a food drive. You can really increase your impact by organizing your own food drive. Food drives run in conjunction with your company, school, church or group tend to have the best results. And, always add an online component to your traditional drive (or run your online drive alone). Use to run an online drive for your local food pantry. The online drive service is free to use, easy to share on social media, and simple for supporters to shop online for brand-new most-needed food items which are shipped directly to the pantry at the close of the drive.

  • Donate money. Hunger relief organizations need monetary donations to operate. Any size donation will be welcomed.

  • Donate food. Don’t just walk by the donation bin at your school, store or company. Make a point to donate food whenever the opportunity arises keeping in mind those words from Mother Teresa.

Finally, keep in mind, hunger will continue way beyond Hunger Action Month. Show your support to food banks, pantries and soup kitchens all year long. Your persistence can increase your impact exponentially as your actions may encourage friends and family to do the same. You can help one less person go to sleep hungry tonight.

* Photo credit Feeding America

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