This service-themed family night is a perfect way to talk to your kids about hunger in America, especially child hunger. With everything from a printable game to play with your family to stories to get them thinking, this family night is a great starting point for teaching your kids to give back to others who are in need!
Before my son was born, I volunteered at a Feeding America member food bank with my office a couple of times and to this day, it’s one of my favorite memories from that job. The first time we went was one of my first weeks at that job as a project manager, and I took my duties seriously. I was in charge of making sure that all of the items going into boxes were the correct items. And I distinctly remember telling one guy I’d never met over and over again that he was doing it wrong.
I found out later that day the guy was actually the company’s CEO. Totally embarrassing, but it’s still one of my favorite moments. I always like a good opportunity to give back to others, especially when kids are involved.
When I learned this summer that Feeding America and Scholastic were partnering on a Hungry to Help program this summer, it brought me back to that day at the food bank, and I knew I wanted my son to have a similar experience. A Family Action Plan is available to download on the Hungry to Help website and includes
- Links to online resources to help you learn more about hunger in America
- Family conversation starters on hunger
- Family activity ideas
- Printable children’s activities
- And a summer checklist to keep track of what you’re doing as a family
Recently we’ve started doing family night with our four-year-old each week. We’ve talked about things like being kind to our bodies, families, and this past week, we talked about service and helping the hungry through the Hungry to Help program. Helping him understand that not everyone has enough to eat was a bit of a struggle but the family night and the Hungry to Help Family Action Plan definitely helped!
I thought I’d share our family night plan as well as some additional activities that are both fun and a good way to get kids involved. I’ve also created a printable PDF version of this that you can print at the bottom of the post.
Hungry to Help Family Night Ideas
Share This Story
You are so excited, today is the big day of your family reunion. You are all going to have a huge picnic at the park. You’re going to get to see your cousins, play games together, and enjoy some delicious food!
Your family has reserved the entire picnic area at the park and when you arrive, there’s food and decorations everywhere! Fresh fruit, tons of stuff for making sandwiches, cookies, and even popsicles for when it gets hot. There’s more yummy food for the picnic than you even imagined there would be.
You sit down at a table with your cousins and start eating. You’ve eaten an entire sandwich, a bag of chips, and a huge slice of watermelon. Then it happens. A car pulls up that sounds like it’s not going to make it much further. And out comes a family – a mom, dad, and two kids. Unlike you and your cousins, these kids don’t look as happy as you are to be here. They look a little sad.
They sit down at the one empty table in the picnic area and the mom looks embarrassed as she pulls out a small cooler that only has a bit of food inside, not even as much as you just ate. The little boy looks at the cooler then looks at all of your food and says wow. Then turns back and faces his family again to enjoy their small meal together.
You can tell this family might not have enough to eat. What do you do?
A – Tell the family you reserved the space and they need to take their car and leave.
B – Give the family some of your leftovers to eat at their own table once you’re done eating.
C – Invite the family to join your family’s picnic. Invite that little boy to come sit with you and your cousins and share your second bag of chips with him. Or give him your own. Invite them to make their own sandwiches and share what you have with them. You have plenty for everyone.
Talk about how we have been blessed with so much and there are tons of others even in the United States who are not as blessed as we are. In fact, according to Feeding America, 1 out of 6 children may not have enough food to eat. That’s over 13 million children. And the summer is the worst time of all when these children are not receiving free or reduced-price meals from school. Use the resources in the Family Action Plan to give them even more in-depth info about hunger in America.
Tell your kids that the picnic story was a pretend story to get them thinking. Then tell them the two true stories in the Hungry to Help Family Action Plan, stories from a child and a parent who are part of families who don’t have enough to eat.
Brainstorm Ways to Get Involved
Talk about ways that we can help kids and other families who aren’t as blessed as we are when it comes to food. Brainstorm ideas as a family that we can implement to help feed hungry kids in the U.S. and talk about how we should be helping others with what we have, not just giving them our leftovers. These are just some examples, there are tons of others in the Hungry to Help Family Action Plan:
- Donating money to food banks
- Collecting food to take to the food pantry
- Taking meals to friends/families in need
Hungry to Help Activity
Do one of the following activities as a family:
- Have a sorting race where you split into teams and race to group similar food donations together to take to your local food bank.
- Do an activity in the community activities section of the Hungry to Help Family Action Plan
- Go to the grocery store and play supermarket sweep to shop for items to donate. To play, split your family into two teams and race to find the items on this printable download card. Then donate those items to your local food bank! Enter your first name and email address in the form below to get the printable. If the form isn’t showing up below, click here to get to the form to download the printable files.