When it comes to hungry children, Houston is second to Detroit.
Brian Greene is president of the Houston Food Bank. He says Texas is one of the hungriest states in the country, and children who go hungry, predictably come from low income households.
“They’re in households where the parents are younger, and so they’re earlier in their income stream, which is why children are far more likely to live in households that are food insecure. And as you’ve seen a decrease in wage and a decrease in full-time employment opportunities for people who’ve not built up strong skill sets, it’s actually hit children harder.”
In poor households, children are less likely to go hungry than their parents because they would do anything to keep their kids from suffering. He says the youngest children are at the most risk of hunger, because they’re not participating in school programs that offer breakfast and lunch.
“So you don’t have that extra hunger reduction mechanism in place. And unfortunately, these are also the children that are the most likely to live in what’s called extreme poverty, which is less than half the Census Bureau calculated poverty thresh hold. And these are also people that it is the most critical time in their lives to get good nutrition, because it’s gonna have implications that will with them for rest of their lives.”
Share Our Strength is an organization that has provided millions of meals to needy children, and is hosting the annual event called “Dine Out For No Kid Hungry.” Its a national effort to end childhood hunger by 2015. Thousands of restaurants throughout the country will donate a percentage of their sales for one week beginning Sunday.
Jim Mazany is CEO for Joe’s Crab Shack, one of over a dozen Houston area restaurants participating.
“We’re in the restaurant business, so we are in the business of feeding people and creating special occasions and incredible experiences, and knowing that children are going hungry in America. It’s a natural fit for us to want to participate. It’s been something that our employees and managers at our locations have gotten really excited about and really passionate about the cause, and are doing some really unique things to help raise money for No Kid Hungry.”
Through its a “No Kid Hungry” campaign, Share Our Strength gives more children a healthy start by supporting effective school breakfast programs. It also teaches families how to cook healthy and affordable meals.
Participating restaurants include: Boston Market, Brick House Tavern, Buffalo Wild Wings, Corner Bakery Café, Daily Grill, Dave & Buster’s, Denny’s, Joe’s Crab Shack, Kona Gill, La Madeleine, Raising Cane’s and Malone’d Deli and Catering.
More information can be found at www.DineOutForNoKidHungry.org.