There are 15 million children facing hunger in America. To me, that means that 15 million kids don’t have the fuel they need to grow strong and thrive, to get good grades, to handle social pressures on the playground, or to pitch a no-hitter. To me, that’s unacceptable.
I know many parents will agree with me that as a parent, they can’t imagine a world where their kids don’t have enough to eat, or where they didn’t have enough energy to succeed. I also know that there are many parents out there who are working multiple jobs, and are burning the midnight oil, and still the ends don’t meet. The reality is, and I’m happy to say, there are ways to make the road easier for kids and their families when times are tough.
I’ve been a member of the Feeding America Entertainment Council for two years now. In these two years, I’ve come face to face with dozens of awesome kids and their parents, who without the help of the Feeding America network of food banks would go without meals. These are kids who could be the next Roberto Clemente, the next Thomas Edison, the next Neil Armstrong, and with support from their local food bank and volunteers who help make it all happen, they can be.
Since teaming up with Feeding America to learn more about hunger, and to help raise awareness that 1 in 5 kids in the U.S. are struggling, I’ve had the privilege to volunteer at food banks and child feeding sites across the country. I’ve worked alongside countless volunteers to flip grilled cheese sandwiches, to unpack and repack boxes of food, and sort fresh produce. I’ve seen entire semi-trucks filled with food donated by generous corporate partners, and I’ve seen dedicated volunteers at the ready to help unload these trucks and make sure the meals find deserving homes, in neighborhoods just like any of ours.
I am incredibly proud to be one of two million volunteers from communities all across the nation who donate their time to the Feeding America network, and this National Volunteer Month, I ask you to join me. All it takes is an hour of your time to make a difference, and if we all team up and do this together, our collective impact can be massive. In one hour we could pack backpacks that provide weekend meals to nourish our future, to fill the stomachs of tomorrow’s athletes, inventors and explorers. We can absolutely make a difference – it’s up to us.
*Jason Grilli is a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and a member of the Feeding America Entertainment Council.