Since becoming a mom last year, my life has changed more than I could have ever imagined.
On one hand, I have never loved anyone more in my life. On the other hand, I've never felt more worry or responsibility. I want more than anything for my son Julian to be happy and healthy, but I worry: what if I can’t make it happen? How do I protect and prepare Julian for the future?
Mothers and fathers ask themselves these questions every day. For some, the answers are easy to find. For others, just making sure their children have something on their plate is a daily challenge. This is unacceptable. No parent should have to worry that their child won’t have the nutrition she or he needs to thrive. No child should have to carry the burden and fear of hunger.
You don’t have to be a parent to understand the importance food has on a child’s development. Kids who don’t have access to healthy food struggle in school, get sick more often than their peers, and are less likely to graduate. It's a vicious cycle. Every day, far too many kids aren’t reaching their potential because they don’t have enough to eat.
I believe that in a country like the United States, no child should go hungry. That’s why this January I made it my New Year’s resolution to support efforts to end childhood hunger in America.
After being introduced to the issue last year, I was shocked to learn just how big a crisis childhood hunger is in this county. 16 million children are hungry in the U.S. and it’s an epidemic affecting every state, city and community. Take my home state of California, for example. In California, an astounding 27 percent of children struggle with hunger. While many of these children are eligible for critical meal programs, too many are missing out. Of the 2.6 million California children who receive free- or reduced-price lunch, only 46 percent are getting school breakfast. And in the summertime, only 15 percent of these kids are getting summer meals.
Something has to be done, and thankfully something is. Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign showed me that ending childhood hunger is within our reach. Working alongside politicians, state and community partners, advocates, corporations, and supporters like you and me, No Kid Hungry is connecting kids in need to nutritious food where they live, learn and play. Innovative programs like breakfast in the classroom, summer meals sites, and courses that teach families how to buy and cook healthy food on a budget are changing the reality for kids across the country.
And while we’re making incredible progress, we need to do more if we want to see the end of childhood hunger in our lifetimes. This year, I’m asking my friends, family and followers to join me in my support of No Kid Hungry. Whether it’s through donations, volunteering, or raising our voices, each one of us has something to give in efforts to get food to the kids who need it most.
So in honor of a new year and new goals, I ask you to challenge yourself to do something to make a difference for children in need.
Together, I’m certain we can make No Kid Hungry a reality in America.