Friday, February 27, 2009

It's Friday. Know What That Means?

It's Friday. For the past few weeks, we've been taking Fridays on the Tyson Hunger Relief blog to remind people that hundreds of thousands of children around our country who rely on free school lunches spend the weekends at risk of hunger. I introduced the subject with a true story a couple of weeks ago:

A colleague of mine came into the office last year with a compelling story. Her eight year-old grandson frequently spent time with her on weekends. Often he was accompanied by a good friend: a normal looking kid; clean, well-dressed, well-mannered.. The friend had a voracious appetite, eating just about everything in his path. When my colleague made a lighthearted comment about how much he could pack away, he said, “We don’t eat much at my house on the weekend.” Turns out, life was pretty tough for this kid. His single dad was making some choices that didn’t exactly put nutrition at the top of the priority list for his family.
Unfortunately, this kind of story is way too common in our land of plenty.
Along about the time this posts, school kids around the country will be eating lunch. For some of them, it will be the last good meal they’ll have until Monday. If I’m reading the charts correctly, over 15 million kids participate in the free school lunch program. For a lot of these kids, the school lunch program is their lifeline; there just aren’t three squares on the weekends and holidays.

As we do the $25 grocery challenge, I think it's important we remind ourselves why we're doing it. Hunger is a real issue in this country. Often it's right in front of us, and we don't even realize it.

Through this experiment, I'm reminded I eat too much most of the time. But more often than not, that's not a problem for the 15 million kids at risk of hunger in our country. Especially between now and Monday lunch.

Please support the food drive next week. And support the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank year-round.

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