Eat your food, there are kids starving in (insert country)

Recently, I’ve been making an effort at teaching our twins conservation.  When they wash hands, they can’t just stand idly by and admire their own personal waterfall – it’s wasting water, and some people in the world don’t have enough water.

When they leave a room, we try to have them remember to turn off the lights – we shouldn’t waste electricity – again, some people don’t have any of that, and it also wastes money we can’t afford to lose.

And here’s the timeless classic: they should eat all their food (especially the veggies) and not turn their little noses up at what mama puts on their plate, because there are kids in the world who don’t have enough food to eat and go hungry.

Zanna looked pretty concerned by this and came up with her own idea to get those hungry children some food: “Mama, I know!  Those children can go to the store and BUY food!”

Me: Sweetie, they also don’t have money to buy food.

Z: Then they can go to the money store and get money and THEN they can go to the food store and buy food!

Me: Zanna, sometimes those people live in places where there aren’t any food stores.  (She looked skeptical.) Like the jungle or the desert.

Zanna didn’t know what to say to that.

Then Halle piped up with her own special idea to fix this:

H: I know!! I can get food from our refrigerator, mama, and I can send it to them, then they won’t be hungry!

She immediately hopped up from the dinner table and trotted over to our fridge, opened it up and proceeded to remove some food.

H: They will like this food! Then they won’t be hungry and they will be SO HAPPY!

I thanked my little squirrels for their kindheartedness for those hungry people and tried to get Halle to relinquish the block of cheese she wanted to ship to Africa ASAP.

Me: Honey, it takes so long to mail the food, that it won’t be fresh when it gets there, then the people can’t eat it, so we’re going to collect money for the poor hungry people on Halloween when we trick-or-treat! Then we can send it to them and they can buy food.

The girls really liked that idea, so we’ll be fundraising for the NJ Food Bank this year on Halloween. If you would like to contribute, here’s the link for the food bank, and they have it set up to accept donations:

Have a great Autumn everyone!! If you also do fundraising with your kids, please leave a comment and let us know which charity you do it for – you can even leave a link for that charity!  Thanks!

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8 thoughts on “Eat your food, there are kids starving in (insert country)

    1. Hi Tony! Thanks for commenting on my blog 🙂

      Yes, it is definitely rewarding being a parent, but a little scary too. To think that how we raise them is going to have an effect not only on the rest of their lives, but on the lives of the people they come into contact with, and on the environments they interact with! It’s like the Butterfly Effect on serious steroids!

      But all we can do is our best, and say a prayer for the rest 🙂

      Happy Halloween or other related holiday!

  1. You sound like such a great mom! When I was little I was told about the starving children just to get me to eat, too. We never got an explanation as to why they were hungry or the option to participate in making a difference, tho. Back then, parents didn’t seem to explain and reason with kids (at least mine didn’t….lol), kids were supposed to be seen and not heard. Things do change for the better! :0)

  2. Hmmm …. I have a bit of a different take on all of this. I don’t require my children to eat all of what is on their plate. I don’t always do it myself and I think that’s a good thing. If you only provide good, healthy food with little or no processed foods, desserts, treats or sugary drinks (including juice), you will discover that children will eat quite well when they are hungry. (Oh, especially if you eliminate the stuff that’s passed off as ‘milk’ also. If not hungry, children should not be forced to eat. Too many adults bemoan eating too much. Too many people in our country are obese. Also, as far as charity, you are always better helping someone you know rather than giving money to an organization that you probably haven’t investigated and won’t hold accountable. And why would you ask/beg other people to give of their hard-earned money just so you can give it to other people? It’s one thing to spend your own money for something you believe in, or even offer services to others to earn money to donate, but just asking others to give you their money for you to give away? That’s not admirable.

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thank you for your comment. You certainly do have a different perspective.

      First of all, we do feed our children quite well – mostly organic or natural instead of conventional, virtually no sweets or other processed things.

      Secondly, we don’t require them to eat everything on their plate, but to at least taste everything once.

      What we do frown on if them creating a mess with their food for fun, which is how the conversation about other people not having food came up.

      We do not beg, but trick-or-treating is an American tradition – and rather than have my children collect sweets, we decided to allow them to participate in a fundraiser that DOES contribute to people in our local community, or nearby neighborhoods – the Community Food Bank of NJ.

      We believe that it is for the good of the entire planet to teach our children that rather than saying “Oh well, people are suffering…let’s go have some fun and ignore it!” we want them to feel empowered that they can effect change themselves.

      And since they are still young, we try to do that in a fun way – trick-or-treating! or other community-based activities.

      And if someone does not want to contribute their spare change to feed others, they can just say “No thank you.”

      Then they can continue contributing candy to feed others. Because that’s so much better, right?

      And yes, I think that my children’s compassion for others and their desire to take action to help others in need is very admirable!

  3. Oops! I didn’t mean to upset you. Your clarification on the eating gave a different picture and indicates that we actually agree on all of that (eating healthy foods, teaching children to try foods, being thankful for what they have, behaving respectfully of others and the work they do — ie. your cooking, and the work that was involved in purchasing the food, etc.).
    We still disagree on the trick-or-treating thing, though. I do think that trick-or-treating and asking for money are both begging (“To ask for as charity” or “To ask earnestly for or of; entreat”) — whether it is tradition or not (tradition doesn’t necessarily make something good to me).

    You must have missed my second to last sentence. I certainly did not advocate ignoring suffering. I think compassion is quite admirable. But in the same time that someone could go about and ask others for their money (and money equals work so you are asking them to give you their work), they could produce something to earn the money. Sell cookies or bread or lemonade. Offer to sweep a driveway, rake a yard, clean a window. Draw a picture. Anything. That is something to be proud of. There was a time when individuals were ashamed to accept charity, but rather insisted on earning whatever they received. Now, we live in an entitlement society where people think they deserve things just because they exist. And those things come from others who work and earn.
    I find it curious that you think it is acceptable to ask someone to give you their money/work so that you can give it to a cause that you deem worthy (and it may very well be quite worthy indeed), but you judge as unworthy how they may choose to spend their own money/work (or as you call it “spare change” as if it were free).
    I’m sorry to rock your blog here. I really didn’t intend to do that. I just saw the coconut oil. 🙂 Anyway, it’s a bit of an unusual and uncommon type of thinking in the mainstream these days. It is also simply a return to the freedoms and liberties that made our country great. A return to that type of thinking is what our country now needs, but which is unfortunately most unlikely.

    I hope you have a nice week,
    Christina

  4. P.S. You are probably right. Trick-or-treating isn’t really begging. It would probably be more accurately classified as threatening or bribing. As you probably figured out, I don’t participate on either end of that tradition. 🙂
    No hard feelings, though! I took a while to come around to the fact of it myself. It’s quite hard to go against the society norms and be eccentric.

  5. Well Christina,

    I can’t quite say that my sweet and adorable 4yr-old girls threaten or bribe anyone.

    In fact, they did produce something quite nice to GIVE to the people they encountered on Halloween – their own original artwork! And this was all their own idea!

    If people chose to be heartwarmed, touched and moved by all this sweetness and respond to my little darlings’ earnest and sincere concern for others’ suffering, and contribute towards relieving that suffering, far be it for me to say ‘nay’!

    And quite a lot of people are still trying to recover from the recent hurricane and flooding, and recent snowstorm – and in poorer areas in our county, that means that those who may otherwise have been able to get along just fine, find themselves struggling with catastrophic loss – and avail themselves of the resources to keep life and limb together – I’m not going to be the one to judge them as having an entitlement mentality!

    I’m guessing from your stance, that you’ve never had to deal with sudden and unexpected deprivation – I hope you never have to experience that! But while it’s true that there are those who abuse the resources out there, there are many, many others who use it as intended – an emergency stop-gap measure until they get back on their feet again – and quite a number of those people try to repay the help they received by ‘paying it forward’ whether monetarily or some form of community service.

    By the way, something else that made our country great is the help we offer to those in need – wherever in the world they may be.

    Just food for thought…

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