There once was a little girl (she was 7), who would come home from school hungry, everyday. This was a mystery to her mother, as the mother dutifully packed a lunch for her every morning.
After noticing this pattern of behavior for several days, the mother asked her daughter, “Why are you so hungry when you come home from school? Don’t you eat your lunch?”
The little girl replied, “No, I give it to some children, who come to school, with no food at all.”
Although she was touched by her daughter’s generosity, this raised a red flag with the mother. She decided to pursue the issue.
What she found was, many children were coming to her daughter’s school, without lunch, and without money to buy lunch. She also found out, that these children came from homeless families, poor families, single parent families, families on a low fixed income, or sometimes, food was withheld from children, as a form of abuse.
The mother became very concerned about these hungry children, and decided something had to be done. She had known of hungry children in third world countries. She had seen the ads on TV, for “Feed The Children”. But, to have hungry children in the United States? This issue hadn’t been on the news. Something was wrong.
The mother declared: “No child should go hungry”.
Everyday, the mother would send extra food with her daughter, to help feed these hungry children. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long. Soon, the little girl was coming home with all of the food the mother has packed. Confused, the mother asked her daughter, why she was bringing all of the food back home.
The little girl stated that she was getting in trouble at school for sharing food.
When the mother approached the school about this matter, the school stated that it is their policy to not let children share food (allergy issues). The school also said that if a child came to school with no lunch, or money to buy food, the school would give them a pint of milk, and a small container of apple sauce. (Hardly enough nourishment for a growing child) *
The mother became more frustrated. She was bound and determined to feed these innocent, hungry children. She had friends in high places, so she enlisted their support, and took action.
It’s because of that sweet and kind, seven year old girl, who willingly gave her lunch to hungry children, and the determination of her mother, that a non-profit organization, named Dare to Care – Alaska, was created. Their slogan is, “No Child Goes Hungry”.
Dare to Care – Alaska is now helping to feed hundreds of children in 16 schools. During the summer months, Dare to Care – Alaska, also feeds dozens of children at a local “”food bank”, which they’ve set up. Food, paper plates, utensils, the distribution center, and the time worked, by volunteers, is donated.
Dare to Care – Alaska, holds fund raisers, galas, fashion shows, and also relies on donations (monetary, or food and food related items), from generous and caring individuals.
On July 12, 2007, Nordstrom (Anchorage), partnered with Kayne Gillaspie (Project Runway designer) and Dare to Care – Alaska, and sponsored a fashion show, called “Fashions For Food”, to help raise money for hungry children. The fashion show was a success and all proceeds went to Dare to Care – Alaska.
According to Dare to Care – Alaska,
Teachers, nurses, counselors, principals and cafeteria managers identify students based on their chronic hunger, their lack of a bag lunch, or their inability to charge a meal due to an already existing excessive charge balance.
School staff members notify Dare to Care of the need in their school, and Dare (to Care) provides the school with funds for food accounts to be set up in the names of those students identified. The accounts are monitored and replenished as needed. Some students may need help for a week – others may need help for months or even the whole school year
Participating, or donating to Dare to Care – Alaska’s program, is easy. Just visit their website. Donations can be made either through a secure PayPal section of their website, or by mail. If you’re in the area of the Dare to Care – Alaska’s headquarters, and would like to volunteer, contact information can be found on their website.
This is just one story of how a mother and daughter have taken it on themselves to make a difference in the world. No matter where you live, I’m certain there are plenty of children who have “fallen through the cracks”. Children who aren’t being fed in school. Children who may be malnourished because their care givers are withholding food as a form of punishment.
If this is an issue that tugs at your heartstrings, find a way to help the hungry and malnourished children in your community.
If a seven year old girl, is willing to sacrifice her own lunch, so that children who have no food, can have at least one meal for the day, don’t you think we, as adults, should do a lot more?
Don’t let another child go hungry.
FYI: Dare to Care – Alaska, is not affiliated with any other Dare to Care program.
* Although there are Federal “free” and “reduced-fee” meal programs, many families don’t qualify, due to conditions that are not considered on the application form, i.e.out of pocket medical expenses, tragedies such as a house fire, deployment of a parent who’s in the military, etc.
I love the story of how this non-profit organization was founded. Children are often the ones who open our eyes to problems in the world, and the story of this little girl, sure opened mine.
BTW: This story is from 2006, which proves, the “system”, is not protecting our children.