July 15, 2014
by Esther Brown

The Child Hunger Corps is a national service program designed to increase the capacity and capability of food banks to execute programs targeted towards the alleviation of child hunger. The objective of the program is to increase the number of nutritious snacks and meals served to children in need in local communities around the country. The Child Hunger Corps initiative is sponsored by the ConAgra Foods Foundation.

In August 2012, the third cohort of nine new Corps members were placed at Feeding America member food banks, bringing the current total to 15 Child Hunger Corps members working at food banks across the country. This post is by third cohort member Esther Brown, Child Hunger Corps member at East Texas Food Bank in Tyler, Texas.

Two years ago, I started out as a Child Hunger Corps member with very little knowledge about hunger in America as well as the work the food banks do to alleviate some of the need. Sure, I knew that hunger existed and I knew that food banks existed, but I had no idea the massive amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to make things actually get done. Who knew that federal funds could allow children to be fed during the summer months and after school? Who knew that the application for those federal funds would take the by-in and support of every department at the food bank and many community service organizations to make it possible? Who knew that kids love fresh fruit more than candy and hate cooked carrots more than doing their chores?

I have learned so many things and am beyond grateful for the experiences I have had during my time as a Child Hunger Corps Member. I’m amazed at the ingenuity of food bankers, who address hunger as a challenge just waiting to be figured out and who think outside the box many times in a day to think of innovative ways to feed more people. I’m amazed at the energy and determination of the partner agencies we work with, who spend countless hours volunteering their time to make sure children don’t go to bed hungry. Most of all, I’m amazed by the kids, who, even in the midst of harsh family environments still love, still smile, still vocalize their strong feelings about what they do and do not like to eat, what they hope to be when they grow up and what they like about your outfit. When it comes down to it, the hope the children show in the middle of a difficult childhood provides the strength to continue through the challenging days and provides an excitement about what is to come. Together, we really can make a difference in helping those around us to have the food they need.

Tags: Fighting Hunger in Action , Child Hunger , Texas , East Texas Food Bank

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