Each year, the US Postal Service collects non-perishable foods as part of its Stamp Out Hunger campaign. It’s got to be one of the easiest ways to give food to a local food bank. The mail carrier picks it up on his route and the post office delivers it directly to the food pantry’s door.
Last year, we had the best of intentions but dropped the ball. We forgot. Completely. Not this year.
The boys and I bag up some cans of food, tie up the bag and tape the postcard to it so there’s no confusion. A. happily pulls out his nemesis, corn, to donate. “Eww, those too!” says F, adding a can of sliced carrots. What does it say about us that we give away all the “choice” cans? Someone’s trash is another’s treasure? Or in this case, dinner.
It surprises me in a country as wealthy as America that more than 16 million children are at risk of hunger. That’s more than 1 in 5. The idea of hunger is a hard concept to grasp for children who’ve never missed a meal. To F., snaking might as well be an Olympic sport. He’s that good.
Then there’s all the food we don’t eat.
The boys wasting food pushes all my husband’s hot buttons. He hasn’t gone as far as lecturing them about “all the starving children in Africa” but he’s come close. I find uneaten cheese sticks in lunches, untouched packs of crackers tucked into backpacks and half-finished glasses of milk at the kitchen table. He’s got a point. We toss enough food in our house in one week to feed an entire other family.
As we approach summer, I can’t help but think of all the kids who qualify for free lunches at school. Where will their next meal come in June, July and August? Drats. We should have put out more cans of carrots.