In this Holy Year of Mercy, the Work of Mercy for April is to Feed the Hungry, as designated by Bishop Deely. Every day we teach our children every day about the importance of spiritual nourishment. If you choose to educate your students about how hunger affects children around the world (including Cumberland County where 1 in 5 children experiences food insecurity), please know that there are excellent resources in the community to make the reality of food insecurity relevant to our students and that there are ways we can make a difference.
In the library
The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects: Over 500 Service Ideas for Young People Who Want to Make a Difference by Barbara A. Lewis and Pamela Espeland.
This book provides children a variety of topics and projects to help make a difference in their community, including a chapter
December, a children’s picture book that tells the story of a homeless boy, Simon, and his mom, and their generosity toward a frail stranger a Christmas. While it doesn’t sugarcoat what it’s like to experience homelessness from the perspective of a child, it ends on a hopeful note. The illustrations by David Díaz are beautiful.
Stone Soup, the classic story by Marcia Brown, shows us how communities make a difference in the fight against hunger, by working together. Empty Fridge is a modern-day version of the same story with charming illustrations.
In addition to the resources within Bishop Deely’s release, there is the Good Shepherd Food Bank, a local food bank offering hunger programs that focus on feeding children through programs like the Back Pack Program and Summer Food.
Classroom Resources on the Web
The Southern Poverty Law Center has a website devoted to classroom resources designed to educate students about the issues that create injustice. By keying “hunger” into the Teaching Tolerance search engine, you could find numerous references to classroom activities that can be filtered by grade level and subject (social studies, math, science, reading/language arts), etc.
When students go online to FreeRice.com, they help feed the world as they learn new vocabulary words. The World Food Programme site offers students (and philanthropic adults) a game that asks users to match the right synonyms to a list of vocabulary words-10,000 in all, representing 50 levels of difficulty. For every right answer, the Web site’s corporate sponsors donate 20 grains of rice to WFP aid projects in developing nations like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sudan, and Ethiopia. The website also offers links to valuable resources about world hunger for young learners.
Taking on World Hunger. (2008). School Library Journal, 54(1), 19.
For younger students, the Feeding America Talk About Hunger toolkit is a PDF containing activities (build your own donation collection can), coloring pages, and simple infographics that invite discussion about what it can mean to be hungry.
Hunger is an important issue; equally important is having the right tools to discuss it in the classroom. If you have other suggestions for resources that should be included, please let me know. I appreciate feedback.