Help the Hungry: Our Month in Review

If you follow us on Facebook (and if not, please do!) or Twitter (give it a try!), then already know quite about about Help the Hungry Month. During the feast-focused month of November, my family, and perhaps a your as well, has put hunger in the spotlight.

We used a simple project from the book Doing Good Together by DGT’s founder and director Jenny Friedman:

  • Pick your month!
  • Budget 5 to 10 minutes each day for counting and discussion.
  • Follow the counting calendar in the book Doing Good Together, or make a list of 30 (31? 28? pick your month) items to count (i.e. number of books in your home, number of closets/faucets/shoes/coats/cds, number of trips to the grocery store/baths/times you eat out in a month)
  • Each day count your item, stash that number of pennies in your jar (or empty place setting set up for that purpose).
  • Take time to talk to your child(ren) about the issue of hunger (using the resources we’ve blogged about all month)
  • In the end, donate your coins to your favorite hunger relief charity.

Let me be honest. We may have dedicated a month, but a few days did slip by with no counting. The occasional hectic days got the better of us. Some days we doubled up on counting to catch up, but certainly one or two might have slipped by undetected.

At one point we ran out of coins and had to slip IOUs into the jar.

A few of the bigger counts were daunting (all the books in the house? seriously?), so we compromised (all the books in the kids room… and it still took some time).

Overall, though, I highly recommend this project. The month-long nature of it meant that we covered the topic extensively.My 6-year-old was so excited to drop off some actual food at the food shelf right before Thanksgiving, that she told the staff all about our project. They told her that more families than ever are signing up for assistance.

She responded excitedly, “Well, thank goodness it’s help the hungry month then!”

Even Little Miss 4 got into the action. She had a difficult time understanding that some families, some kids like her, don’t always have the food they need. After the first week of counting, however, she took to adding any loose change she found to the jar for “all those kids” as she called them.

Along the way, we read a great kid’s book on the topic: Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen.  We spent time on a few good websites:

We covered the discussion questions included in Jenny Friedman’s book Doing Good Together.

  • What do you think of these daily hunger activities? Why?
  • Why is it hard to picture what it’s like to be hungry if your needs are always met?
  • Why do you think some people don’t get enough food to eat?
  • Why is it important to help hungry people?
  • What else could we do to help those who are hungry?

At the start, our family decided to donate ten cents for every penny in our empty bowl, or every item counted. The girls were thrilled by the final check we wrote today. And I tossed in a few extra dollars for all of those uncounted extra books in the rest of our house!

Did your family talk about hunger this month? Share your story!

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About Sarah

Sarah Aadland is striving to make family volunteering a meaningful habit for her family of five. Join the conversation as she ponders what they may (or may not have) learned and looks for helpful information about raising compassionate kids.Though she plans to one day put her Masters in Public Policy back to work for social justice, she sees family volunteering as a way to build a stronger community, a better world, and a more connected family. In addition to her children, Sarah tends a large garden, a small flock of chickens, and a habit of mindfulness amid the necessary rituals of parenting.

2 Responses to “Help the Hungry: Our Month in Review”

  1. Shelley Phillips said:

    I thank you for sharing this story. I was inspired very much. I am thinking of starting to count all what I do and have.Appreciate it very much.

  2. Habits for Good: Adopt an Organization | Big Hearted Family said:

    [...] near our school. We often play at the playground there, especially after making a drop off. During Help the Hunger Month, our food shelf (as we call it), was the only organization the girls considered sending their money [...]

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