Here’s Hope: My Belief We Can Fight Child Hunger

My small girl is in third grade.  She has a little brother she adores; most of the time.  They fight like most siblings do, but if you were to ask her what her about ‘rule #1’, she’ll look you firmly in the eye and say, ‘Keep Coopy safe’.  One of these days, it won’t be ‘cool’ for her to call him ‘Coopy’, but for now, I can tell he loves that she has a special name for him.  And? He loves her.

In their sweet and sheltered world keeping him safe means getting him an ice pack when he hits his head, reminding him to pack a snack for school, including him when her friends are around, putting an arm around him during the ‘scary part’ of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and offering the evil eye to anyone who dares to comment on his longer blond hair with anything but admiration.

She doesn’t have to sacrifice a portion of her dinner so her brother can eat. She doesn’t take care of him while I or my husband work two jobs to make sure there is food in our home.  Hunger isn’t a problem they know. And for this, I am grateful.  But I’m also deeply aware of food insecurity and how it effects so many children in our country.

I was reminded of this again tonight by something so simple: a song.  Back in April, I was lucky enough to hear country music artists Little Big Town perform the song Here’s Hope live at the Academy of Country Music Awards. They performed the song during the Lifting Lives Moment – bringing awareness to the epidemic of Child Hunger right here in the United States. I spent time on the Red Carpet at the ACM’s asking artists about the power of hope and music and the beauty of LBT singing this song.  I also interviewed Hunter Hayes, the artist who wrote the song about WHY this song resonates as it does.

One in five children are hungry.

I will say it again: 1 in 5 children are hungry.

Tonight, I stumbled across this video on YouTube. As I had HOPED they would, Little Big Town has recorded their version of the song.  And it is magic. I sat with my small people tonight, crying (yes, I did) and listening to it over and over again.

In the second verse…. “There’s a small town girl in the third grade, makin’ sure that her sister gets enough… ”  I looked first to my small girl and then to my small dude and my heart broke a little, for what we have, for what other children don’t and with gratitude that we can help.

For the better part of the past four years, I have worked with Con Agra Foods and their program Child Hunger Ends Here, and while I’m not in the midst of a campaign at the moment, I feel compelled to share this video with you…. I hope you can take a few minutes to get lost in its beauty, to absorb its message.

Maybe it will inspire you to donate a few dollars to your local food bank, to start a food drive at your children’s school, to fill backpacks for a local program, or simply to pass it on.

The inspiration behind ‘Here’s Hope’ is just that – hope that we can make a difference, even a little bit at a time.

Thank you for joining me.  I’m grateful.  And somewhere there is a 3rd grader who is as well.

  • E.S. Ivy

    Our school has a backpack-for-the-weekend program. It’s great to know that it’s going directly to the kids that need it; at the same time it’s quite an eye-opening to know it’s so close to home and not just a statistic.

  • niri

    It is just plain wrong for any person to go to bed hungry, let alone any child.we cannot progress ahead in other avenues unless we address child hunger

  • Danielle Smith

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I have filled backpacks before and it hurt my heart to think that without THIS food these children would have nothing…. but also, so grateful the programs exist.

  • Danielle Smith

    Yes, my friend! YES. I so agree with you.

  • Christine Young

    Such an important message to spread and cause to support. Every little bit we do can make a difference. Thanks for the reminder, Friend!

  • Danielle Smith

    Christine – thank you so much! I so firmly believe that – every little bit. Sometimes it is as little as reminding people the problem exists. I appreciate you.

  • Gena Mazzeo

    I cried too, the first time I saw this video from Little Big Town. And my heart also breaks a little every time I think about the 17 million kids who are hungry. It’s hit pretty close to home in the last few months as a little girl new to my world gets those discounted school lunches and probably should get a backpack to make sure she has enough to eat over the weekend. As an employee of ConAgra Foods, I’m honored to be a part of the team behind Child Hunger Ends Here and to have your support Danielle. Your posts help to build awareness of the issue and teach folks what they can do to help, and with that, we can help end child hunger and make sure those kids get enough to eat. Thank you for your support!

  • Danielle Smith

    Oh Gena…. I can’t even imagine! The very idea that there are ANY children suffering through this hurts my heart. I think you know I am proud to support the work Con Agra Foods and Child Hunger Ends Here does regularly. I swear I will find a way to do more! Thank you for encouraging me :)

  • Nadia Carriere

    Heartbreaking. Such an important message. Thank you Danielle for sharing… xo

  • Dawn Sandomeno

    Much of what I write about is food. The enjoyment, pleasure and celebration of it. It makes my heart sick to know there are those in this country that got to bed hungry because they don’t have enough money to buy food. It’s our responsibility as American’s to make we put an end to this. Thanks for your post, I’ll share your message where ever I can.

  • LisaCrazyAdventuresinParenting

    When my children first started school back at Fort Bragg, NC, I remember seeing our elementary schools there offering “summer lunches.” I was a little confused about it, being new to the district, new to NC, I didn’t understand why they would keep the school open to serve lunches over the summer, until I asked someone.

    For almost the entire summer, save a week at the beginning and a week at the end when they’re busy ending or preparing for the school year, they continued to serve school lunch because of the folks that need it, still, who wouldn’t eat otherwise.

    We lived on post. I was astonished.

    My head swirled around a little when I heard that. Starving MILITARY families?! It hadn’t ever occurred to me that kids in my children’s classroom were eating school lunches beside them, and it was the only meal they were getting daily.

    From that point on, I make a point to go eat lunch with my kids weekly, if not daily. Up until moving here, our kids were allowed to “bring a friend” to the parent table to sit with us. Now, with food allergies, in this (civilian) district here in TX, that’s no longer allowed. But I used to bring in extra; extra snacks, extra crackers and fruit and fun, healthy stuff to share with their friends, to be sure everyone had enough. I always made sure their classrooms had back-up snacks, too, and my heart broke when they finally became the age where snack was no longer allowed in classes, anymore.

    Something has got to change – somehow, some where we as Americans need to help our communities, and not just ignore that it “can’t happen here,” not in our community, because it truly is everywhere, even on military posts.

  • Lorie Shewbridge

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful video and this most important story. In this day and age in our most powerful country, there is no reason why any child in our country should go hungry.
    I will be sharing this on my FB page, everyone needs to hear it.

  • Amy Allen Clark

    Oh, I just love your heart, Danielle! What a beautiful reminder for all of us and such an important issue is raised here! I am brainstorming some things I can do in my own community to raise awareness and this is just that little nudge I needed to get started! Love you!

  • Danielle Smith

    Oh my friend – thank you for this. It is so important to me. xo

  • Danielle Smith

    I am so truly grateful for you. Thank you for sharing this – THANK YOU. Like you, it hurts my heart to think, even for a second, that anyone, especially children, are going without enough food. I need to do more.

  • Danielle Smith

    Oh Lisa – I had a moment just like this when I realized it is happening RIGHT HERE… it is happening in our classrooms, in our communities and all around us. And every day, I think, I need to do MORE. Thank you for sharing your story. I so agree with you. The very idea that there are MILITARY families who don’t have enough?? My heart…..

  • Danielle Smith

    I am so grateful to you, Lorie…. I know that sharing the message, sharing the video…. it is a part of what we can do. The ideas are swirling in my head. I can’t wrap my brain around the notion that so many are going without…. THANK YOU.

  • Danielle Smith

    I so adore you, my friend! Thank you so much for your kindness, for your heart… so proud to know you! Imagine the good we can do together?