Talking to your children about social issues like hunger can be difficult, but it’s important. 800,000 Canadians a month receive assistance from food banks according to Food Banks Canada, the only national charitable organization dedicated to helping Canadians living with hunger. One third of the Canadians facing hunger are children.
Before starting a conversation, find out what your children already know about the topic. A simple, “What have you heard?” lets them share what they understand and what concerns they might have. (Do we have enough food? Could we go hungry some day?)
Offer reassurance, and keep your answers simple and age-appropriate. Explain that people face hunger for many reasons and for different amounts of time. If you or your children have unanswered questions, visit Food Banks Canada to learn more.
The good news is that when it comes to hunger, you and your family can make an impact in your community.
Here are seven ways you and your family can help:
1. Let your children lead.
Get your children involved when the family is deciding what monetary donations you might make. If a birthday or holiday is coming up, give each child the choice to donate gifts or the money you would have spent on gifts to a cause they care about.
Sign up to prepare and serve a meal together at a local meal program, or collect food for the community food pantry. Your children will see the effect of their hard work and get to know people impacted by hunger.
3. Have a bake sale.
Turn your child’s lemonade stand into a neighborhood bake sale benefiting a local food bank, and use the Pampered Chef Emoji Cookie Cutter Set to make each cookie stand out. Every set bought in summer 2017 helps provide 3 meals to Food Banks Canada affiliated food banks—doubling the impact of this activity!
4. Turn a playdate into a food drive.
Plan a playdate and have the families bring a non-perishable food item to donate. It’ll get your child and their friends excited about helping others.
5. Plant a family garden.
Start a small garden in your yard and collect food to donate to a local food pantry. Tending a garden can also teach children about where their food comes from, encourage healthy eating, and teach responsibility.
6. Start a collection jar.
Invite your children to decorate a jar or container and place it somewhere to collect spare change. Let them help decide where the donations should go once it’s full.
7. Create a gratitude collage.
Talk about what you and your child are grateful for. Help your child understand that not all children have the same things and opportunities. Then, craft an “I’m thankful” collage based on your talk.