National Hunger Awareness Day

On June 2010 is National Hunger Awareness Day.  This is an important day where we need to participate on this day but also for the whole summer.  In the summer time is the most crucial time where food donations go down.   This is the time when everyone should look in their pantries to see what they can give.  Feeding America quotes that 1 in 6  Americans knows that hunger is a reality.  1 in 6 is alot of people.  This can be you neighbor, friend, family or coworker.  Feeding America also quoted that is even more shocking is that 1 in 4 children lives in a food-insecure household.   Since the economy is not doing well there has been an increase amount of Americans going to food pantries and soup kitchens.   Alot of people are not receiving nutritious meals because  of the quick instant purchase of processed foods which alot of them are not nutritional sound.   I had consult a patient years ago on healthy eating and she said that it sounds nice but it cost too much to buy food at the supermarket and it is cheaper to eat out at fast food restaurants dollar meals.  I was able to explained to her how much she would save in purchasing healthier food groceries but how many more people feel the same way she does.  Food stamps are only given to certain incomes so what happens to the working person who has to decide if they must place a roof over their head or put food on the table.  What can you do to help out?  Find out where is your local food bank.  Feeding America website has a food bank locator where you can place your zip code and the locator can find a food bank in your area.   Feeding America food banks provide food and groceries to 33,500 food pantries, 4,500 soup kitchens and 3,600 emergency shelters.  What can Dietitians do?  They can help give healthy nutritional advice to the food service staff in soup kitchens, food pantries and emergency shelters.  I know that alot of food banks and soup kitchens would say that there are no choices on what comes into the shelters.  That is true but there are still ways to have a good nutritious meal with little bit is there.  Example is canned tomatoes, canned mixed veggies and pasta – there you have a healthy vegetarian meal.   I know you probably question the sodium intake but to some people this maybe there only meal for the day.  Also alot of the fast foods have much more of sodium per serving than a cooked meal from a food shelter.   Another way you can help is volunteering at a food shelter by assisting with the cooking, meal planning and serving the food.  During the summer millions of children are out of school and some do not have any food to eat.  Why may you ask?  Because during the school year children are part of the school breakfast, lunch and sometimes after school program where they receive nutrition meals throughout the school year.  But what about the summer time where children are out of school?  Where do they received healthy meals?  They will received healthy free meals at the Summer Food Service but alot of families do not know that this program is available from the USDA (United State Department of Agriculture).  You can get your local school or community organization to get involved in the Summer Food Service program by contacting  Karrie Denniston at 202-546-7001.   You can also make a monetary donation to your local food shelters, pantries, soup kitchens and Feeding America.  Make this summer be a special summer by helping fellow human being to have a wonderful meal.  Just as our first lady Michelle Obama, you will be blessed when you do.


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