I’m looking to donate to a charity that addresses childhood hunger. It’s personal. Let me explain.
Hunger is a theme in my family along two fronts. First, my mother and her siblings. As I’ve written before, they were war refugees. They one day were given a few hours to leave their farm, and they took whatever possessions they could. The family of eight ended up living in a single room with one light bulb and no plumbing.
Things didn’t get better for a long time. My grandparents were often away for weeks at a time to try and make a living. So, the siblings raised each other.
My mother never mentioned this to me, but my father said that my mother and her siblings often went hungry. In fact, she and all of her older siblings passed away by the age of 65. My father guesses it was because of the long-term effects of malnutrition.
Second, as I’ve written before, my life changed when I was eight years-old and my mother became very sick with renal failure and almost died quite a few times over an extended period. I remember going hungry a lot. I remember one day that there was only a can of Del Monte peas in the pantry.
At school, I used to get nauseous a lot and be sent to the nurse’s office. “Did you have breakfast?” she’d ask? I had not. She used to give me some graham crackers and that would make me feel better.
With my mother in the hospital a great deal and various (indifferent) caretakers rotating in and out, we ate a lot of junk food, frozen food, and take out. As an eight year-old, I cooked a Thanksgiving dinner by myself, as I felt that if I didn’t do it, no one would. And, I didn’t want some lame pizza for Thanksgiving.
So, hunger is a personal issue for me and deeply so.
Frankly, there’s a great deal of good news that came out of all this. My mother and her siblings became very generous adults. My grandparents, even when they were short of money, would give something to every beggar who came to their door.
As for me, I became very independent very early, and I’m a really good cook. It really is a joy to cook for my children. If a handyman or plumber comes over on the weekend and works through lunch, I’ll make something for him/her.
Also, I’m always on the look out to help children in vulnerable situations. Specifically, Mrs. T. and I have given significantly to a local project called Genesis II, which supports single and homeless mothers undergoing drug rehab. We also give to combat sex trafficking, as most sex workers begin these days at age 13. I still remember fondly the opportunity to give premium Red Sox seats to a boy who lives in public housing (more here).
So, if you know of a charity that does a great job of addressing childhood hunger, let me know? We live in the U.S. amidst tremendous economic bounty. We this holiday season need to remember those who are struggling.