by Linda St Cyr, Contributing Writer
"MORE THAN 50 MILLION AMERICANS STRUGGLE TO PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE."- Share Our Strength, Hunger Fact-Sheet
Santa is on his way but for many families getting food on their tables is as elusive as seeing Santa climbing down the chimney. Over 44 million homes are considered food insecure. These families rely on school lunches to provide their children with a meal, trips to the local food bank to get a meal on the table, and stretching every dollar for what it's worth. During school breaks the amount of children who go hungry increases because there is no food in the home.
Hunger hurts. Not just emotionally but physically and mentally. According to Share Our Strength, children who go hungry are more likely to become sick (headaches, stomachaches, ear infections), become hospitalized, risk obesity, face behavioral problems, lack focus in school, and struggle with learning.
The number of hungry during the holiday season is only increasing. Island Harvest (a food relief organization in Long Island) spokesman Donald Miller told CNN's Eatocracy about the increase, "Prior to the start of the holiday season – the benchmark would be the number of turkeys requested for Thanksgiving and Christmas and this year, it came in at an astounding 42,000, whereas last year the requests were for about 25,000. We've taken in around 12,000 so far, so we're really behind the eight ball."
17.4 million households in America are food insecure. 4.2 million of those households include children. America is considered one of the fattest nations yet we have millions who cannot afford to put food on the table. It is shocking and sad. There are ways you can help fight against hunger. Visit places like Island Harvest, Share Our Strength, and Feeding America to make a donation. Find a local food bank and donate non-perishables, ask if they are hosting a turkey drive then donate one.
If you are in need of help putting food on your table this holiday season: Please use THIS TOOL to find a local food bank.
Matt Damon Helps Fight Hunger
by Linda St.Cyr, Contributor
Matt Damon, actor and academy award winner, is trying to make an impact in the war against hunger. He has recently been a part of a public service announcement where he portrays a man named Steve. Steve happens to be a real man with a real family (a wife and two kids) who is facing the realities of being jobless for the past two years. In the short PSA, Matt Damon speaks about the thoughts and feelings that come about from making a trip to the local food bank. "I kept worrying about what the neighbors would think," Damon says calmly while looking like an average man on the street.
Damon then tells the camera, "That was until I saw them there too." A small humorous touch comes when the actor looks away from the camera and asks, "How'd I do, Steve?" and the real Steve Gallagher appears with the answer, "a little stiff" before walking away from the camera together down the street.
The Public Service Announcement is only 31 seconds long but the message is loud and clear. There is no shame in going to the local food bank when you need help. Heidi Arthur, vice president of the Ad Council, spoke with the Minneapolis Foundation to explain the "everyman" campaign PSA's. She says of the project, "The whole strategy of the campaign is to make people aware it is not the stereotype of hunger of the past. It's hard-working people in the community, it's children, it's the working poor. The whole idea is that this is closer than you think. It's 1 in 6 Americans.''
Ben Affleck, friend of Matt Damon and fellow actor, will also be appearing in the "everyman" PSA's
You can view Matt Damon as Steve Gallagher here.
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