by Dedrunette Baskin
Kids Against Hunger Metro Atlanta is one of 93 satellites in the United States and Canada and the first in the Metro Atlanta area. Our goal for 2012 is to package and distribute a minimum of 1 million meals around the world to do our part in eradicating hunger and poverty. More than 14,000 children die daily before they turn 5 years old from starvation, malnutrition and hunger-related diseases. It takes an average of 0.25 to 0.28 cents to package and distribute one meal.
You can help us make the difference! I am a product of the Kirkwood community and the Atlanta Public Schools system. As such, I am compelled to give back, especially to the schools that are left that my siblings and I attended, which are Toomer Elementary, Coan Middle and Southside (now Maynard Jackson) High. One of the goals I have is to secure sponsorships and contributions that will allow the schools to host packaging events that students participate in. This would allow them to have a hands-on experience and feel what it is like to extend their hands to another's. I believe that my Geography, Social Studies and History lessons would have had much more of an impact if I had a tangible connection to some of the places we studied.
Here is what I envision: A student studies Haïti in their Geography class. The student then participates in a packaging event hosted by the school. The student is compelled to write a hand-written note on the bag of food like, "God Bless You." The food is shipped to Haïti because this is the country that the school or class has chosen since they studied it in class. The food arrives in Haïti and a video is taken of the recipients enjoying the same food that our students packaged here. I receive a copy of that video and take to the school and they show to the same students who participated in the packaging event. The student that wrote, "God Bless You" on the bag sees a child tear that bag open and pour the contents in a big pot to prepare to be cooked on the video. That is a tangible lesson in giving that a student can feel. It is more than dropping off canned goods at a local pantry as a donation or sending a dollar to a fund. Children and youth need tangible methods to learn and understand the needs of the world. I hope you can feel the passion behind my vision.
Our official launch was Dec. 17 of last year at Oglethorpe University. We were blessed to have a very successful event with great volunteers and we packaged 11,176 meals in 2.5 hours that were sent to Haïti.
Our upcoming event is: 2012 ROCK OUT HUNGER Concert March 11, 2012 at 7 p.m. at the Masquerade 695 North Ave. NE. Tickets are now on sale online.
Ms. Baskin is executive director of Kids Against Hunger Metro Atlanta.