by Michele Young
Occurring just about everyday this familiar mantra, “Mom, I’m hungry, what’s for dinner?’ is fairly consistent no matter where or what age children are. According to kidshealth.org there “isn’t a perfect number of calories that every kid should eat, but the recommended range is between 1,600 to 2,200 per day. This number varies depending on activity levels and age of the child. As a mother of four extremely active kids, food has always been a major part of our day and occupies a large part of my time planning and preparing meals.
Now imagine how it would feel if your hungry, busy kids came home after a day or school, sports, music, playing, tree climbing etc and ravenously asked you “what’s for dinner” and you don’t have an answer. Not because you’re fed up menu planning and trying to please everyone, not because you’re tired and just can’t be bothered cooking, and not because you’ve had a bad day and just want to hang out and chat to your friend. You have no answer because you have no food.
Staggering statistics showing how many children suffer from hunger on Long can be found on websites such as communitysolidarity.org. Approximately 283,700 people will suffer from hunger on Long Island at some point this year. Approximately 182,000 people will go hungry on Long Island tonight! 72,980 of those will be children!
39% of people affected by hunger are children. Affected is indeed the word! “According to community solidarity “Hungry children are more likely than their peers to experience behavioral issues. They often suffer from reduced ability to learn social skills. They suffer from impaired cognitive learning and even permanent brain damage”
A hungry child is a terrible thing to imagine but for some parents it’s a reality. They simply cannot afford to feed their family. The next time you feel that grumble in your stomach and you instinctively place your hand on your empty belly, stop and reflect. For just one moment imagine how it must feel to know you can’t feed yourself and worse than that, you can’t feed your children.