The most shocking piece of information I learned Thursday night at a preview of the documentary “Hunger Hits Home” is that 2.5 million children in California aren’t getting enough to eat every day. Across the United States, 1 in 5 children are struggling with hunger.
This is staggering information. The Food Network is airing the documentary tonight at 7 p.m. and it chronicles the lives of three families that have hit hard times. A child in one family talked about how the longest he had gone without food was three days. Three days. A mother of two young children talked about how it would take her 45 minutes by subway to get to a market with fresh vegetables. Her food stamps would buy only a tiny bag of fruits and vegetables.
The documentary talks about The Food Network’s partnership with Share Our Strength, whose No Kid Hungry campaign is working to eradicate childhood hunger by 2015. Susie Fogelson, Food Network’s Senior VP of marketing and a judge on The Next Food Network Star, said that working to end childhood hunger isn’t about finding a cause for their brand. “It’s about fixing the problem of childhood hunger.”
The documentary ends on a positive note with the three families featured finding a way to either get healthy food or find a way to get food on the table. Aarti Sequeira, host of Aarti Party on the Food Network said that although the end of the documentary looks hopeful, the problem of childhood hunger is a real problem that needs all of our help. She said she hopes people watch it and “…Make a commitment to do something, whether it’s donating food to a food pantry or finding an afterschool lunch program or seeing how you can help. Just do something,” she said.
One piece of heartening information locally is the Compton Unified School District’s breakfast program. The documentary featured Rosencrans Elementary where students start every day with a healthy breakfast. Since it began in 2010, there have been fewer student visits to the nurse and students say they can concentrate better during the day. Starting next year, the Los Angeles Unified School District will offer breakfast in 267 schools thanks to a partnership with the LA Fund for Public Education. The school will bring breakfast into the classroom so every child will start the day with a healthy meal.
Yvonne Condes is the Editor and co-Founder of MomsLA.com, a Community of over 100 of the Top Mom Bloggers in Los Angeles.