September is Hunger Action Month (HAM), when Feeding America and member food banks, including the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center and Citizens Bank, our HAM sponsor, ask everyone in America to take action to fight hunger in their community. Pictured at right are volunteers from Citizens Bank taking orange "spoon selfies" at one of our Mobile Food Pantry stops during last year's HAM.
Hunger Action Month is an opportunity to join a movement that has a real and lasting impact on our work to end hunger and food insecurity. Whether it’s by advocating and raising awareness, making donations, organizing a food drive, wearing orange, or volunteering, you can find the way that’s right for you to make a difference during Hunger Action Month.
In New London County, the rate of food insecurity is 13% of the county population, or roughly one in every eight residents. For children in New London County, 19%, or nearly one in every five, faces hunger.
Chances are, someone your child goes to school with struggles getting enough to eat. When children go to school hungry, they cannot focus on their studies and have a hard time concentrating in class. In addition, lack of food and good nutrition jeopardizes the healthy development of both their brains and bodies.
Children aren’t the only age group struggling with hunger and food insecurity. In fact, according to Feeding America, more than five million seniors over the age of sixty also face hunger. Seniors can have certain medical and mobility challenges that put them at greater risk, and they may live on fixed incomes which make it difficult to cover health-related expenses as well as all the usual costs of living, including food.
While these statistics may seem overwhelming, if each person takes action in some small way, the collective impact has the potential to move the needle on hunger and food insecurity. Hunger Action Month in September provides the perfect opportunity to find a way to make a difference and help end hunger in our community.
Here are some ways that you can get involved:
- Make a donation to the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center. Every dollar donated can provide the equivalent of ten meals! The Food Center provides food to a network of 81 free emergency food programs in New London County that feed more than 21,000 every month. Last year, the Food Center provided the equivalent of 2.4 millions meals and snacks, at no cost to those in need.
- Run a food drive at your business or organization or with your civic group. You can find helpful tools and promotional items for your drive on United Way’s website. Consider limiting your drive to 3-5 specific nonperishable food items to maximize impact.
- Volunteer at the Food Center or Mobile Food Pantry. Opportunities include sorting food, checking expiration dates, packing produce, loading or unloading the Mobile Food Pantry, and distributing food at one of the ten monthly Mobile Pantry sites.
- Promote healthier food options and support local farmers, growers, and food producers.
- Wear orange, the official color of HAM, throughout the month of September.
Learn more about all of the information and opportunities above by visiting our Food Center pages. And many thanks to Citizens Bank, our Hunger Action Month sponsor!