The American celebration of July 4th is more than picnics and parties of course, but let’s face it…plentiful amounts of food are a big piece of it.

So, let’s talk about hunger, particularly for children, and let’s talk about what you and your families can do about it.

Citing the most recent government data on food insecurity, Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, notes that an estimated 42 million people in the United States are living in food insecure households. Of those, some 13 million are children. For children, the problem is made worse in summer, when six out of seven low-income kids who eat a free or reduced-price school lunch during the academic year lose access to in-school meals.

Because creating public awareness of an urgent social issue is a critical element in creating a solution, Feeding America has designed a nationwide program called Hungry to Help Project to bring families and communities together this summer to end hunger. And a compelling component of the project is a hands-on approach to involving children in the fight against food insecurity and summer hunger.

Here are things that parents can do with their kids as part of the Hungry to Help Project’s Family Action Plan, which is designed to be a comprehensive resource for parents and children to practice empathy and learn more about how they can support those who struggle with hunger.

The plan includes:

  • Family conversation starters on the topic of hunger
  • Hands-on community action ideas and family activities
  • Children’s activity sheet to draw their perfect world
  • A summer checklist to track their progress
  • Links and online resources for more in-depth information

For adults, Feeding America also has information on how to advocate with their Congressional representatives, volunteer with a local food bank, and support the organization with their contributions.

It’s time to get the conversation started.