Last week, I received an unexpected phone call from a nontraditional educator and advocate. With her own resources and connections, she leads an afterschool program and summer education program for children living in her neighborhood—a mobile home park. During the school year, she arranges tutoring and activities for about 25 kids, ages 6 to 12. As a former instructor’s aide at a middle school, I expressed my admiration for her dedication and organizing efforts.
“They need it…so I do my best.” Her response was candid and simple, yet remarkable.
This woman was calling to address another issue facing her program “students”—hunger. She shared with me a powerful story of an 8 year old boy living in their community, suddenly rushed to the hospital for intense stomach pains. The ER staff discovered he had been eating paper; more specifically, he had been eating pages from his parents’ bible. In hearing this story and feeling her remorse throughout our conversation, I could sense her resulting dedication to not only provide enrichment and education for the kids in her community but also provide nutritious meals. “No one should live like that, especially a child,” she said at the end of her story.
Indeed no one should. With existing resources and an identified community partner, kids in her community can have a safety net when school is out. Federally-funded and state-administered reimbursement programs like the Summer Food Service Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program, also referred to as CACFP, seek to fill in that gap. But the key connection driving resources to kids are community organizers and local champions taking action.
Champions of food access come from all sectors and all walks of life—are you a champion in your community? Join us for the Hunger Free Colorado Summit 2012 next Wednesday, Oct. 3, to voice your solutions to food insecurity. There’s still time to register online.