3 Simple Ways to Help Kids Have a #HungerFreeSummer

Back when Boston was experiencing its short yet ridiculously intense winter, I was reminded that schools (including Laurel's) not only provide education, they provide a reliable food source for many kids. So when I was invited to participate in the #HungerFreeSummer campaign sponsored by ConAgra Foods®, I was like, YES, TELL ME HOW I CAN HELP! We’re only a third of the way through summer break, which means there’s plenty of need and opportunity for us to help kids get the meals they need this summer.

To give you some numbers: 22 million kids receive free/reduced price meals during the school year and during the summer, more than 80% of those kids may go hungry because they don’t have access to school meals. For the past 20 years, ConAgra Foods and the ConAgra Foods Foundation have worked to fight child hunger, partnering with some of the largest nonprofits dedicated to child hunger, such as Feeding America®. The ConAgra Foods Foundation is providing 23 food banks across 15 states with Hunger Free Summer grants (ranging from $20,000 - $40,000) to provide healthy meals for kids this summer.

This information is very, very humbling. I grew up in an immediate family of 9 with very limited resources so I know what it's like to survive with very little. Subsequently, I'm well aware of how blessed I am now -- to be able to go to the grocery store and get whatever our family wants and needs...to enjoy the summery things like bike rides with Laurel and ice cream cones and relaxed meals on our patio. My past and my present have led me to make mindfulness and gratitude a daily practice, and to also take the time to help others. So, today I wanted to share 3 simple ways to help kids have a #HungerFreeSummer. I encourage you to engage your kids in these tasks!

1. Look for the red pushpin and code! 

For each eight-digit code entered at www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com this summer, ConAgra Foods will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America®, up to three million meals. Also, this and next Friday, 1 code entered = 1 meal + 1 bonus meal. So enter those codes tomorrow + next Friday! Enlist your kids to help look for those pushpins!

2. Spread the word!

Share this post with friends. Or use the hashtag #HungerFreeSummer as you and your kids post an adorable selfie with their pushpin finds. I loved seeing my friend Audrey’s sons finding pushpins in the grocery store!

3. Donate goods to your local Feeding America food bank

In Massachusetts, Feeding America food banks include the Greater Boston Food Bank, Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, and Worcester County Food Bank. We regularly participate in food drives; it’s such a simple and tangible way to get your kids involved.

So easy, right? Please, please help! And to give you a little more background, here's a video that was put together about the campaign, including yours truly:

Disclosure: I was invited to participate in the #HungerFreeSummer campaign, sponsored by ConAgra Foods. Thoughts and opinions in this post is, of course, my own.