At National Life, we have a cause: to help end childhood hunger
We recognize strong communities sustain successful businesses. When we learned there are 19,000* food insecure children in Vermont (kids who don’t consistently have access to nutritious food), we knew we wanted to help. Why?
- Kids can be distracted in school since they’re hungry which can negatively impact their academic performance. These children are our future. We need to help them be their best selves.
- Childhood hunger impacts educators since, as we learned through our LifeChanger program, some will create their own food drawers or shelves. This generosity and care is commendable; however, there is also a cost to it. Educators often pay for these supplies out of their own pocket.
- Childhood hunger can require the need for additional healthcare, even years later. “Children who went hungry at least once in their lives were 2½ times more likely to have poor overall health 10 to 15 years later, compared with those who never had to go without food.” **
- This issue can indirectly impact our workforce development. If a child has increased health issues due to hunger, they will miss more school which means their parents might have to miss work if they have no one to care for their child. This also means that food insecure households are struggling with other issues including rent, healthcare, fuel, etc. To pay for food for their families, something has to give which can impact a parent’s ability to consistently hold a job.
- No one, including kids, should not have to worry about when they will eat again. Food is a basic human right.
To help tackle this issue, we’ve been working with statewide organizations making a difference now, including Capstone Community Action, Community Harvest of Central Vermont, Green Mountain Farm-to-School, Hunger Free Vermont, Vermont Gleaning Collective, Vermont Foodbank, Vermont Community Foundation and others. They’re committed to ending hunger in Vermont, but we know there’s more we collectively can do.
We’ve created an Employee Action Team (E.A.T.) which is working in a grassroots manner to help end childhood hunger. We’ve also formed a Childhood Hunger Steering Committee which includes thought leaders from throughout the state who can help us pull together the right resources to make a difference.
How Can You Take Action?
Check out this Urban Institute report detailing the causes of childhood hunger as well as areas for investment and action.
Donate to your local food shelf or, if you know someone who is struggling with hunger, let them know where one is.
Glean. By helping collect food from Vermont’s farms, you can provide nutritious food to those who need it rather than allowing it to go to waste.
Don’t judge. Stigma is one of the greatest barriers to getting nutritious food to people, both young and old, because they don’t want to be called out as different. Many people only need emergency access to food for a short period of time because of a catastrophic event like an illness or job loss.
Continue to visit this page! As we gain momentum, we’ll update our activity here. You can also leave comments or questions about how we can all help at Giving@nationallife.com.
*Feeding America, 2018
** “Effects of Childhood Hunger Lasts for Decades,” Alice Park, Time, August 2, 2010
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