Soldiers in the war against hunger

Recently, I had the great opportunity to volunteer at Feeding South Florida, a nonprofit organization dedicated to help individuals that are struggling to put food on the table for their families. They do that through other nonprofit partner agencies, like food pantries and soup kitchens. Even though it was not my first time volunteering at a nonprofit, it was my first time at this particular establishment.

It’s shocking to hear the statistics they share with the volunteers: almost 1 million individuals in South Florida alone are suffering hunger and in need of food assistance; 1 in 4 children go to bed hungry every day in South Florida, when the national average of food insecure children is 1 in 5. 

To think about how big the world hunger issue is can be truly overwhelming. Organizations all over the world are seeking help from the community to fight this war against hunger. We may not hear about them frequently, but these nonprofit agencies are all around us, we just need to find one and make the internal commitment of being an agent of change in a self-centered society. Many people like the idea of volunteering but are too involved in their own lives that don’t find the time; other people feel they don’t have the resources to make a difference.  I’m convinced that you don’t need to be rich, have a charitable foundation or travel to the other side of the world to help people. With just $1.00, Feeding South Florida provides 6 meals to people in need. If I only knew that with the same money I buy my coffee every morning I could be providing one meal to a family, I would have started donating long ago.

It’s not only money what these organizations need. There is also one of the most valuable thing everyone has: time. This is actually what I donated the other day: 4 hours of my day. I can’t always give money, but dedicating a couple of hours of my time to help others is an inestimable gift for those that work regularly at these nonprofits and need a helping hand, and for those who are the final beneficiaries of these programs.

It was “backpack day” that day, meaning we were sorting kid-friendly food that would fill the void of the necessary nutrients kids need to live, learn and play. Many times, low-income children don’t eat between Friday’s school lunch and Monday’s school breakfast. Studies have shown that poor performance, behavioral problems, and health problems are all part of the affects of hunger. A good number of kids only go to school because of the free lunch that is served there.

It was so rewarding to know that my volunteering time at Feeding South Florida that day meant that a group of children will have something to eat during the weekend; I enjoyed every minute.

It’s in my plans to continue helping this and other organizations and keep fighting the war against hunger. I urge you to do the same. There are many ways to help: donating funds, donating food, volunteering your time. 

While I was on that line sorting food, I thought that life is so unpredictable and full of unforeseen events that you never know when it’s going to be you the one in need of assistance; waiting in line for a bag of groceries so you can give your family something to eat that week. I would truly appreciate the help of those who are behind the program, giving without expecting nothing in return.

I’m also very proud to work for a company who cares about this global issue. YUM! Brands had a longstanding commitment to hunger in the U.S. through the Harvest program, contributing on average $50 million worth of prepared meals to hunger relief agencies across the country each year. To address hunger on a global scale, YUM! created an annual World Hunger Relief effort to raise awareness, volunteerism and funds for the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and other hunger relief organizations.

For more information and to find other ways to help, please visit: http://www.fromhungertohope.com

You’ll also have the chance to see footage of global spokesperson Christina Aguilera’s recent field visit to Rwanda where she witnessed the effects of hunger first hand and helped beneficiaries of WFP’s nutrition programs. Don’t miss it!

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Virginia Victorio
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