The Taste of the Nation Chicago team is back, and more ready than ever to take on Share Our Strength’s goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015. A big part of that – in addition to planning our annual gala benefit – is working to educate the public on the realities of childhood hunger here in the United States.
Our message got across in a major way last week when The Food Network aired a documentary co-produced with Share Our Strength called "Hunger Hits Home." Narrated by Hollywood actor Jeff Bridges, the film profiles three American families who have unexpectedly found themselves struggling to put food on the table.
Their stories are startling. "I've gone about three days without eating," says one bespectacled boy from Norfolk, Virginia. "I've been able to do that," he says, adding, "sometimes." The children featured here all come from hard-working, loving homes and the desperation their parents feel at not being able to provide for them is palpable.
Sadly, they’re not alone. Childhood hunger affects as many as 16 million children in this country – that’s 1 in 5 kids you see on the street. It's become such a growing problem that current Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack has labeled it an issue of national security.
What’s encouraging is seeing how both private citizens and politicians have become energized around this issue. On the local level, food pantries like Minnie’s in Plano, Texas, help make the choice between cooking dinner and going without a little easier for families in the community. Share Our Strength has also successfully partnered with governors in Maryland and Virginia to help make ending hunger a priority in their states.
The message here is simple. Whether it’s donating to your local food pantry, writing your state legislator, or simply taking the pledge to end childhood hunger, this is a goal we can all get behind.
We hope to do our part here in Chicago. Join us, and buy your ticket to the 2012 Taste of the Nation event today.