I try to keep my personal life just that...personal. Every once in a while I do feel the need to drop the curtain and reveal deep and personal things about myself. Today is one of those days. Please bear with me for a minute while I explain. The bottom of this post is so VERY IMPORTANT.
For the past 2 years my family has been on an uphill climb. It all started when I lost my job, then dh lost his. Things went from really good to really bad fast.
As a family of 7 you can't just change your bills/life overnight when the large paychecks stop. We have dealt with much loss over the past 2 years. The hardest part for me was making sure we always had food...no easy feat for a family of 7. I have 4 boys here with hollow legs and a girl that gives them a run for their money...not to mention dh and I.
Food is expensive. Eating healthy is even more expensive. There were times that I would go days without eating so that my kids could have food. There were nights that I would cry myself to sleep because I knew my kids were hungry. It has been HORRIBLE.
Dh and I had no choice we went to the Food Banks for help. They were wonderful. On our Saturday to go the kids and I would volunteer before we got our bags. I learned that it was an oddity for a family receiving to donate time. I don't understand that. I was so grateful for the help...as were our children...that delivering groceries to those that needed help too, was an honor for us.
I learned a lot at these food banks the past couple of years. Things that I feel are so valuable, that I MUST open this part of my life to you and share.
1. Food Banks are life savers...literally!
2. Lots of canned goods get donated...very few perishables do and are greatly in need. (milk, bread, cheese, fresh vegetables)
3. A TON of work goes into these food banks. All persons helping at the food banks are volunteers. They are needed all through the week. Not just on pick-up days.
4. The holiday's are stressful enough without money...let alone without food.
Here is the thing....
Childhood hunger is HUGE in this country. I have seen this first hand. I was ALWAYS astounded at how many people would turn up at the food bank. I got there late one day and my number was 101!
I have seen how the other half lives. It was a huge eye-opener for me. We are so blessed to live in such and amazing, loving & giving community. My family survived hell because of their kindness and time.
We are steadily getting back on our feet. My husband has an amazing job and 2013 is looking bright. It's time to give back. We put a challenge out to our children this holiday season, they must all come up with a way to give back to our community this year. I already have mine:
I am committed in every way to help end childhood hunger. NO CHILD should ever have to go to bed hungry. When children don't have food...it consumes their every thought...trust me.
There are so many ways you can all help...it takes so little to make such a huge, positive impact on a family this holiday season. A company "adopted" our family last year, unbeknownst to us, and delivered an entire Christmas Dinner to us. We had no idea. People showed up on our doorstep with bags full of holiday food. Ham, pies, rolls, potatoes etc. I burst into tears when I saw them. The local food bank gave them our name and address. An incredible act of kindness. I am doing the same for another family this year. The sheer joy on my children's faces when those kind- hearted souls walked in with bags of food is more than I could possibly describe.
If you are looking for a way to make a difference this year I urge you to help a hungry child/family.
*Find a local food bank and volunteer. Many churches/temples run these.
*Donate perishable items (trust me when I tell you that they have more rice, oatmeal and canned goods to last until the Zombie Apocalypse)
-you will need to contact your local food bank to find out when someone could be there to accept the perishables and what they can accept. Most have refrigerators/freezers there.
*Donate gift cards to the Food Banks so they can shop for what they need.
*Put together a Pie crust, pudding and whipped topping, wrap all 3 with a bow and donate. Desserts are hard to come by when you have no money and every child LOVES getting a fun dessert when they have them at the Food bank.
*Ask your local grocer if they have day old cakes, cupcakes, bagels, breads etc. from the bakery section, tell them you are donating to the local food bank. Most will give them to you, they usually just toss them. BJ's does this for lots of people.
*Go to NOKIDHUNGRY.org and make a donation OR find out more ways that you can help in your own community. It's an amazing site. It is for the children of the U.S. It's time we helped our own.
Please help feed a hungry child/family this holiday season. The sheer amount of people who are struggling is astonishing. I saw people at the food banks that I never expected to see. It could be your neighbor for all you know. Most are too ashamed to admit they receive help.
Together we can ensure that no kid goes hungry this holiday season.
Thank you and God Bless.