Doing Good Together May 2007 Newsletter

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Doing Good Together Newsletter )
Helping strengthen kids and communities through family volunteerism... May 2007
in this issue
  • A Commitment to the Hungry
  • The Face of Hunger
  • Inspiration
  • One Family's Story
  • News From DGT

  • Everybody is outraged that some go hungry while others have so much. But can one individual - or even a single family - make a difference? Yes, but start with small steps. Contribute food to your local food bank, or visit the Hunger Site each day. Every time you click (for free!), the sponsors of the site make a donation to feed the hungry. Then, once you and your children are inspired, organize your neighbors to do more. If you're ready to take action, check out the ideas below.

    Photo: The Hunger Site

    The Hunger Site

    Jenny Friedman, Executive Director

    A Commitment to the Hungry

    Make a Difference... Organize your church, civic organization, Scout troop, neighborhood or school to conduct a food drive. Then take your collection to a local food bank. Or, ask your local grocery store to let your family spend a Saturday afternoon sponsoring a food drive. Place a bin in the store and ask each shopper to buy an extra item to donate. Volunteer to empty the bin and deliver the donations to the food bank. If you want an ongoing commitment, read the story below about how one family found a fun and kid-friendly way to make a true difference.

    The Face of Hunger
    Soul Moon Soup

    Talk About It ... We have a lot of myths about hunger. Learn the facts www.worldhunger.org, then start a conversation with your children in the grocery store as you pick up items for your local food shelf or begin a collection in your community.

    • Ask your children about their view of a hungry person. They may have a few stereotypes. Let them know that in the U.S., children make up nearly 40% of all emergency food clients, and another 20% are elderly Americans. Plus, nearly 40% of all households served by food banks include someone who has a job, but they still need assistance.
    • Discuss the importance of good nutrition. Even very young children can understand that we need certain foods to keep us healthy, and that some people aren't getting what they require. (Research indicates that if young children experience even mild undernutrition during critical periods of growth, it may affect their physical growth and brain development.)
    • Ask your child for ideas about helping the hungry. Listen carefully and see how you might implement some of them, showing your excitement all the while. For more ideas, visit www.kidscanmakeadifference.org.

    Learn About It ... For children in middle and high school, a must-read is Soul Moon Soup by Lindsay Lee Johnson. It is the story of Phoebe Rose, who becomes homeless, along with her mother, after her father leaves. "In these pages I hope readers find the courage to connect with people around them who may need something they can give," says the author. For more books on homelessness and hunger, visit the resources page of our website.

    Photo: Soul Moon Soup

    Inspiration

    "Hunger will be eliminated when people come together to help each other. People need to take an active role in changing politics and society, but first, they need to change themselves and their own hearts."

    Tony P. Hall, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture

    One Family's Story
    Casey and Rachel Christensen

    You can't blame twins Casey and Rachel Christensen for the ruckus that pervades their Farmington, Minn., home the first Wednesday of every month. These 5- year-olds have a serious mission. First thing, they look out the door to see which houses on their block have put out bags of groceries. The children and their mom, Amee, then drive through the neighborhood to pick up the donations for their local food shelf. The twins are especially thrilled when they spot a bag from a neighbor who has never donated before, or when someone contributes large, bulk-size items.

    The family is part of a new initiative in Dakota County called Project FoodStock, which seeks to keep county food shelves well stocked. The project was started by Amee, her husband, Jeff, and her sister and brother-in- law, Liz and Chad Caswell, less than a year ago. Already it has volunteers like the Christensens who collect from more than a dozen neighborhoods.

    Read Full Story

    Photo: Twins Casey and Rachel Christensen

    News From DGT

    Jenny Friedman, Executive Director of Doing Good Together, presented a workshop called Supporting Families in Serving Others: Building an Effective Family Volunteer Program at the Minnesota Conference on Volunteerism this month. She spoke to volunteer coordinators about how to recruit, train and welcome families as volunteers. If you work for an agency that would like to begin a family volunteer program and need help getting started, please contact us at mail@doinggoodtogether.org.

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