It only takes ONE mom. ONE mom can make a difference; she can tell another mom’s story. She can help a child with homework; she can tweet, blog and use her voice for mothers in the world’s poorest places. It only takes ONE mom to inspire hope. I’m inspired by the ONE campaign and I’m going to be one of those moms today by joining their 12 Days of Change. The organization has launched 12 ways to give back and change the world right in your own community, without writing a single check. Each day, a different ONE Mom blogger from around the country is announcing a new, simple action you can take, which we will be highlighting via Twitter and Facebook. I’m thrilled and honored to be one of those bloggers. Over the last few days, there have been truly wonderful blogs posted by Mom It Forward, Love That Max, Her Bad Mother and The Motherhood.
My assignment: Drop off a few cans/nonperishable items to your local food bank to help fight local hunger; use the trip to discuss hunger, both domestic and global, with your kids. This is the perfect time of year for me to step out the selfishness of the holiday season and show my kids what’s important in life. It’s not about getting gifts each night of Hanukkah. It’s about taking time out to think of others less fortunate. ONE is a grassroots campaign of more than 2.5 million people committed to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable diseases, and I had the chance this week to bring my kids into that 2.5 million.
A few weeks ago, I was given an opportunity to speak my mind on the subject of hunger. My good friend, Jill Smokler, over at ScaryMommy.com, involved me in media coverage of a campaign that she led on her site to raise money to provide 400 needy families with Thanksgiving dinner. During this process, I discovered that last year, 17.2 million households in the United States were food insecure, the highest level on record, as the Great Recession continued to wreak havoc on families across the country. Of those 17.2 million households, 3.9 million included children.
So, my kids and I headed to a local food pantry led by The Larchmont-Mamaroneck Hunger Task Force. Twice a month they collect over 7,500 items of food. Some of it is donated through local food drives, and the rest is purchased from The Food Bank for Westchester, and from a food wholesaler. Then they sort it before distributing to hundreds of local families who need it most, including homebound seniors.
Of course, my children complained all the way to the pantry. It was late in the day. I had zipped home from work and picked them both up. They had just finished dance and guitar lessons and were ready to go home to eat dinner and have their normal routine. When I announced that we were making a quick pit-stop on the way home to help others get food on the table who are less fortunate, they were less than thrilled.
When we arrived at the pantry, the volunteers were in full force, packing up food. We took a quick tour of the facility so my children could see first-hand when it’s all about. They saw piles and piles of food – milk, cereal, cans of vegies, bread, frozen goods. Their eyes popped out at the sight of so much food. A friend of mine who helps run the panty had her teen-age daughter show us around and explained in simple terms what was happening. I think that my children developed an understanding about local hunger, however basic it was. The trick is to plant a seed. I planted it.
Then she put them to work. We had brought about 20 boxes of cereal. My children was asked to bag them. The folks at the pantry were actually so happy that we brought cereal, they said that was the one thing they never have enough of.
And voila! Both my kids didn’t want to stop bagging after 20 were completed. They saw boxes of cereal that needed to be bagged and they didn’t stop until they were all put away. Not only that, but I couldn’t get my son to leave the pantry and he literally begged me to sign up to come back again. We are officially on the volunteer list and will make this as regular as an activity as we can.
Teaching my children about the hunger that exists right outside our door was easier than I ever imagined and it took 12 Days of Change to inspire me to make a step toward taking action and showing my kids how easy it is to get motivated and plant the seed for change and the hope that one day my own children will strive to make a difference in other people’s lives.
So, why not make a difference this holiday season? It’s so easy. Check out the ONE 12 Days of Change Project: http://bit.ly/vgpia6.
Here’s a tweet if you’d like:
It’s 12 Days of Change & @theculturemom says to spread the word on the @OneCampaign and local hunger: http://bit.ly/s03Nja
What is your action in the 12 Days of Change going to be? We encourage you to take the action, retweet to get your friends and family involved. Happy holidays, everyone.
Disclosure: I was not compensated to be a part of this campaign (nor would I want to be). I am a proud member of the ONE moms team.