Spending 24 Hours
With Child Hunger
What is the average day like for a child struggling with hunger? The impact goes far beyond a rumbling stomach.
Unilever is dedicated to bringing attention to child hunger - we’ve donated more than 45 million meals to Feeding America in the past five years. Join us to help Share A Meal, and help children avoid the struggles that come with an empty stomach.
Take Jessie – a hypothetical 5-year-old girl that could be living next door. This could be a day in her life as one of the roughly 13 million children in America dealing with hunger.
7:30 am – Jessie wakes up for another day of kindergarten. She didn’t get much food last night, and this morning she is feeling extra groggy. It is the end of the month, and mom hasn’t been able to get groceries yet because she is waiting for her next paycheck, so Jessie heads to school on an empty stomach. Despite being hungry, Jessie is excited to start her school day.
10 am – The teacher is explaining the alphabet – English is Jessie’s favorite subject -- but she can’t seem to focus.
12 pm – It is hard for Jessie to watch the other kids unpacking lunches. Still, she is grateful that her school provides free lunches, which means she’ll always have a meal to count on. The weekend is another story.
2:30 pm – Jessie is in after-school care. She starts thinking about all the things she’d love to have for dinner tonight, but she isn’t sure if there will be dinner. While she hopes her mom or dad can bring home food, perhaps from a food bank, she is never sure.
5:00 pm – Jessie’s dad picks her up. She begins to tell him about a new friend she made that day, but the conversation ends abruptly when she asks what’s for dinner.
6:30 pm – Jessie’s two older brothers both have baseball practice tonight, so between work, picking Jessie up and getting the boys to practice, there wasn’t enough time to stop at the food bank to pick up supplies for dinner, which means a few pretzels for her evening meal.
8:30 pm –Jessie is struggling with her homework, hungry and exhausted, she falls asleep on her bed.
12:15 am – Jessie wakes up after having a bad dream about the other kids at school teasing her for not bringing her own lunch to school. Now it’s hard to fall back asleep with her stomach growling.
7:30 am – Jessie wakes up tired, but hopeful that she’ll eat more than lunch today.
This story is just an example, but studies show that child hunger can impact health, development and education. Food-insecure children are often at risk of missing school and can have lower reading and math skills, which make them more likely to fall behind in school.
Developmentally, children up to five years old are often the most hurt by food insecurity, as their immature immune systems make them vulnerable to nutritional deprivation.
This not only affects energy levels, but also a child’s ability to retain information. Hunger has adverse effects on behavior, and can cause them to lash out or develop anxiety.
We can all do more to help children facing these issues. Whether it's a simple like or a retweet or uploading a photo on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using #ShareAMeal, Unilever will donate a meal to Feeding America for every action you take.* You can visit Feeding America for more ways to help.
*Until Nov 27, min $75,000 to max $150,000; $0.09 = 1 meal. More info in Terms & Conditions.