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Child Hunger Resources

Raising Hunger Awareness and Taking Action During Summer

Here are a few ideas for ways that your church can raise hunger awareness and take action during Summer.

food truck party vbs logo

Vacation Bible School Mission

Many churches do a mission project with VBS. Collecting food for a local food pantry is one way to connect the Food Truck Party theme with ways that kids can help relieve child hunger. Or ask members of the congregation or community to donate specific items that children can use to put together meal bags. Check out these ideas!

Prayground with Jesus

Children's Moments

Use the Children's Moment (also known by a number of other names) as an opportunity to share about hunger. Write your own or use a ready to go script:

Elijah and the Widow

Feeding the 5,000

Moses and Manna

Ruth

Children's Literature

Read a Children's book about Hunger. View a list of recommended books. Additional ideas are included in the digital faith formation playlists here.

Several Faith Formation Leaders from Michigan read a children's book about hunger. View the videos here.

Bake with the Bible Curriculum

The Michigan Conference has partnered with Edible Theology to make their curriculum Bake with the Bible affordable for all our churches. For $25 you can purchase the 6-week curriculum with a version for children and a version for teens/adults. Learn more about the curriculum here.

LEARN

Child Hunger and Food Security impacts thousands of children in Michigan

Despite the efforts of many dedicated organizations and agencies, food insecurity remains a persistent problem in Michigan. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 1.3 million Michiganders faced food insecurity, and now, it is estimated that approximately 1.9 million individuals are food insecure in Michigan, 552,400 of which represent children. (Food Security Council, Initial Report: Covid-19 Findings and Recommendations, October 2020.)

Learn more about the impacts of COVID-19 on child food insecurity from Feeding America.

What is Food Insecurity?

Food insecurity is a lack of a stable and reliable means for getting the food that people need. There are several reasons: access and availability of food, poverty, job instability, food shortages and waste, nutritional quality, discrimination, to name a few.

Read more:

The State of America's Children in Michigan 2021 Factsheet

Hunger in Michigan (Feeding America)

Facts about Child Hunger (Feeding America)

Food Insecurity and Covid-19 (Detroit Free Press)

Food Security Council Final Report 2/22

Facts about Childhood Hunger (No Kid Hungry)

Understanding Food Insecurity

What are the Impacts?

Children facing hunger may struggle in school and beyond. They are more likely to:

  • have less energy
  • be more easily distracted
  • repeat a grade
  • come to school late or miss school entirely
  • have more social or behavioral problems

Learn more:

Save the Children

Impact of Hunger (Feeding America)

September is Hunger Awareness Month

Download a flyer and placemat that you can use and share throughout the month of September (and beyond) to raise awareness of child hunger and take action to end it. Read more here.

Flyer and Placemat in Color

Flyer and Placemat in Black and White

Hunger Awareness Month Placemat

placemat with prayer and questions

FEEDING CHILDREN

Many organizations across Michigan provide food and resources to children and their families. These organizations provide weekend food programs and other programs for children facing food insecurity.

Each of the organizations that was supported through the Michigan Conference 5K is represented on the map of Michigan by a color coded dot. The dot indicates that county is served by that organization (the dot does not physical location of an organization). Click on the map to make it larger.

Michigan major food banks

Backpack programs, snack programs, food for  reduced-price summer camps, Meet Up and Eat Up summer food service program (among many other programs).

Area:

West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula

Backpack program - $100 provides food for one child for the entire school year, Meet Up and Eat Up (and many other programs).

Area:

Northeast Michigan

Backpack program with food for the weekends during the school year.

Area:

Throughout Michigan

Weekend food kits - $100 provides food for one child for the entire year.

Area:

Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Shiawassee, Livingston, Wayne Counties

BackPack program for the weekends. During the pandemic, they have held drive-thru pantries and Fresh Food distribution at schools.

Area:

Southern Michigan

Kids' Food Basket

Sack Suppers, Kids Helping Kids, Urban Growing, and more.

Area:

Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Ottawa & Allegan 

Food Gatherers

Meet Up and Eat Up, Healthy School Pantry Program (among other programs).

Area:

Washtenaw County

Gleaners

Kids Helping Kids, BackPack Program, Meet Up and East Up (among many other programs).

Area:

Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, and Monroe Counties

South Lansing food bank

We Serve Kids Program - backpack weekend food kits (among many other programs).

Area:

Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, Clare, Isabella, Gratiot, Shiawassee Counties

forgotten harvest

Youth Food Programs - Healthy Food-Healthy Kids, Summer Food Service, After-School program (among many other programs).

Area:

Macomb, Oakland, Wayne Counties

TAKE ACTION


Use these ideas or your own for ways to alleviate child hunger. Many of these ideas are focused for the 5K for Child Hunger Relief as part of the Michigan Annual Conference in June 2021.

Simple Ideas

Keep it simple, yet meaningful, with these ideas!

Individual 5K Walk, Run, Bike

Provide information for people to do a 5K (or another distance) on their own or with their household.

Food Drive

Collect food to donate to local food pantries, schools, or other organizations. Steps for a Food Drive

Sponsor

For those who don't wish to participate in the walk/run/bike, offer sponsorships so they can donate money.

2022 5K Information Sheet

Pledge forms for the 5K in color or black/white

Medium Ideas

Use one of these ideas or add your own medium size ideas to take action against child hunger.

Church-wide 5K Walk, Run, Bike

Provide information for people to do a 5K (or another distance) for your church. Provide sponsor sheets for those who want to walk or for those who want to support walkers. The walk could be done together or on their own. Start at the church or a local park. You may want to use these Fact Sheets (updated fact sheets for 2022 will be available by April 15) along the way.

Connect

Learn about what programs are offered for child hunger at local schools and non-profits in your community. Ask questions about what is needed and how you can get involved.

Fundraisers

Bake Sale, Sub Sale, Pre-packaged food, etc. to raise money for child hunger. This may be a way for kids, tweens, or youth to get involved in creative ways.

Big Ideas

Use one of these ideas or add your own big-sized ideas to take action against child hunger.

Community-wide 5K Walk, Run, Bike

Engage the community in a 1-mile or 5K. Provide the sign up forms, sponsor sheets, map, and more. Invite your community to take a bite out of child hunger together.

Little Free Pantry

Build a Little Free Pantry for people to give or take food on your church property or another space in your community (with proper permission).

Community Garden

Plant a garden and donate the homegrown veggies to local organizations who can use it in their program or distribute the food.

ADVOCATE


Resources with ways to advocate for children and food security

Bread for the World

Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. Bread provides ways to pray and take action, including letter writing campaigns to members of Congress. Learn more about Bread for the World and how you can get involved in ending hunger here.

Raise the Minimum Wage

Advocate for a living wage as a way to end child hunger. Use the form from Church & Society as a way to get started to contact Congress.

Feeding America

Tell Congress About Hunger in your Community

Use the form from Feeding America to tell congress about hunger in your community through their Map the Meal Gap research.

Creative 5K Ideas 

2021 Michigan 5K Follow Up

Read about the impact of the Michigan 5K to raise awareness and take action for hungry children in Michigan.

2021 - 5K for Child Hunger Relief

Thanks to everyone who participate in the 2021 - 5K for Child Hunger Relief. We raised over $54,000! Ten organizations located across Michigan will receive donations to support child hunger initiatives including summer food programs and school-year backpack programs among many others. You can learn about the 10 organizations below.

Read the June 7th article about the 5K here

Child Hunger Infographics

Download 10 Infographic sheets that you can post to raise awareness for child hunger.

10 Infographics pdf (updated 8/2021)

Michigan Churches Taking Action to Relieve Hunger

How is your church engaged in relieving hunger? Share your story! Contact Kathy.

church rummage sale photo
photo courtesy of Central UMC in Sault Ste. Marie

Central UMC in Sault Ste. Marie, provides backpacks for hungry elementary age children. We work with the counselors at Lincoln Elementary School who designate children in need. The children take a backpack home on Friday so they will have food for the weekend. They return the backpack on Monday.  We refill them for the following weekend. During the 2020-21 school year, 33 students received backpacks every weekend.

Every summer we have a rummage sale with all the proceeds going to purchase food for the backpack outreach. A picture of our upcoming rummage sale is below. We mark the items low so they will sell. However, once people find out why we are doing it, they are generous with their donations!

Contact Central UMC here

Stony Creek UMC supports a local elementary school with food and school supplies. The social worker and teachers can access it to send food home with kids who need it. There are also regular families who go through and "shop" in the pantry.

Contact Stony Creek UMC here

Birmingham First UMC has a Hunger Ministries Committee that coordinates fundraisers and action days throughout the year:

  • Hunger Sunday - every second Sunday of the month people are encouraged to put loose change/bill/checks in the offering or donate online
  • Home Food Table - 4 times per year various small groups make items at home that are sold during coffee hour on Sunday morning
  • Empty Bowls - soup and bread supper on Ash Wednesday
  • Kroger Card - people are encouraged to sign up through their Kroger card account to have a small percentage of their sales donated by Kroger
  • Produce Table - people bring in fresh produce from their gardens for others to purchase on Sundays
  • NOAH Project - make 300 sandwiches 3-4 times a year
  • Pumpkin Patch - mid to late October, sell pumpkins from the front lawn
  • Cookie Walk - in December people donate cookies and are able to buy a mix of cookies by the pound

Learn about additional activities by contacting Birmingham First UMC here

empty bowls soup supper

Soup Supper

Provide a soup supper during Lent to raise hunger awareness and as a fundraiser to support local organizations that fight hunger.

Use this planning guide for ideas and helpful tips to get you started. Donate the money to local food pantries, food banks, or one of the organizations listed below.

Create your own placemat or use the one from Hunger Awareness Month!

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The Michigan Conference