What it Means to be a Mother

Being a mother is life-changing. Challenging. Rewarding. Scary. Wonderful.

If you ask several women to define what it means to be a mother, no two answers may be the same. However, you may find one central theme: motherhood is not easy. Mothers are essentially the backbones of their family. They carry, birth, feed and provide for their children for the rest of their lives. And, many do it all with a smile.

Between chasing the monsters away at night and nurturing us while we’re sick, they are often quite simply, superwomen. Being a mother can be emotionally and physically demanding, but some women wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m sure you have heard your own mother say, “No matter how old you get, I will never stop being your mother.” That’s because motherhood has shaped her into the person who has endless and unconditional love for her children.


“Love is when you wake up every morning and watch your children grow. I show love to my children every day by making sure they hear me say ‘good morning’ with a hug. I never go a day without telling my children I love them.” -Mia, mother of three

Being a mother means teaching your children how to walk, talk, feed themselves and eventually grow into well-adjusted adults. They have a hand in guiding their children’s values and morals for the future, which can define how their potential grandchildren are raised.


It means a lot as a mother to have taught all my children and grand kids to cook, and keep healthy food in the house. It has been very important throughout my life and theirs to be healthy. Teaching them the value of their health has made them each grow into adults who now prepare great meals at home for their children.” -Jessica, mother of three

Being a mother means making sure your children can have the world, even if you don’t have the world to give. In the U.S. today, mothers are the primary or sole earners for 40 percent of households with children under the age of 18. Many women work multiple jobs to make sure their children have the clothes, food and school supplies needed for their education. They work hard to equip their child with the means for a successful future.


“I sacrifice for my kids every day. Even if I have to go without, they’re going to get what they need regardless of the situation. If I’m down to my last dollar, I’m going to give it to them so they can go to school with cash. I just try to be the best mom I can for them.”-Connie, mother of two

Feed the Children helps children and mothers during their most difficult times. In addition to providing boxes filled with food, our essentials box, which we refer to as our ‘dignity box,’ contains personal care products to support the self-esteem of hard-working women and their families. These boxes may contain items like shampoo, make-up, perfume, feminine hygiene products, and more.

As Mother’s Day approaches this year, make sure you thank the special woman in your life and support women around you. Click here to see how you can support mothers everywhere. From everyone at Feed the Children, thank you to all of the women who have the world’s hardest job. Taking care of us!

Tweet us what it means for YOU to be a mom and why you are thankful for your own mother #ThankYouMom.

World Food Day: Kenya’s Stance on Food Security

World Food Day is celebrated annually on the 16th of October. The goal of World Food day is to show commitment to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 – to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. It’s also a day to celebrate the progress that has been made towards reaching Zero Hunger. The theme for 2017 is “Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and Rural development”.

In Kenya, the achievement of national food security is a key objective of the agricultural sector. Food security in this case is defined as “ a situation in which all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (Kenya Food Security Steering Group, 2008). In the recent years, and especially starting from 2008, Kenya has been facing severe food insecurity problems. These are depicted by a high proportion of the population having no access to food in the right amounts and quality. Official estimates indicate over 10 million people are food insecure with majority of them living on food relief.

The current food insecurity problems are attributed to several factors key being climate change. The world’s poorest many of whom are farmers, fishers and pastoralists are being hit hardest by higher temperatures and an increasing frequency in weather-related disasters. In Kenya, climate change which has led to failed rainfall for consecutive seasons and therefore recurrent droughts which deplete the livelihoods of the community not to mention increased food prices

It is estimated that four million Kenyans are in need of food aid. To meet such a heavy demand, agriculture and food systems will need to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and become more resilient, productive and sustainable. This is the only way that we can ensure the wellbeing of ecosystems and rural populations. This calls for growing food in a sustainable way which means adopting practices that produce more with less in the same area of land and use natural resources wisely.

Our office in Kenya, through the Education pillar have been addressing the food insecurity issue through provision of school meals in their areas of operation, hence fulfilling our vision and purpose of creating a world where no child goes to bed hungry. The Food and nutrition pillar, train pregnant and lactating mothers about proper nutrition and the foods to consume and feed the baby during the 1000 days of child which are critical.

The livelihoods pillar has been working in collaboration with the ministry of Agriculture to teach communities how to grow their own food (vegetables and fruits) through kitchen gardens where various simple and cost effective technologies are used such as; moist beds, multistory gardens, hanging gardens and keyhole. The trainings target parents, school board of members and pupils in the school. The parents select champion farmers who become ambassadors of the knowledge and skills on kitchen gardening in the community. Through the 4k-club, the pupils are trained and later cascade the knowledge to their peers. This helps to foster the need to address food security through production and the kitchen gardens serve as a learning center for the community, parents and pupils.

The MOA hosted the agricultural show for 7 days (2nd -8th October) where they exhibited simple technologies that facilitate bridging the gap of food insecurity. They also sensitized the community on the various types quality seeds and drought tolerant crops especially for the communities in the ASAL areas.

This year, we will be joining parents, pupils and the community in Ngando primary to celebrate World Food Day. The ministry of agriculture staff will take lead in the celebrations where they are expected to educate the community about food production using the kitchen garden that has been established in the school. By strengthening the resilience of champion farmers, schools, and the community at large, we can guarantee food security for the increasing population.

World Food Day: Uganda’s Stand on Food Security

This year, Uganda will join the rest of the world in celebrating World food Day under the theme of “Change the future of Migration; Invest in Food Security and Rural Development” in Kachwekano Zonal Agricultural and Development Institute in Kabale district. This event is being organized by Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

Uganda has a population of more than 39 million people. About 80% the country’s population depends on Agriculture for survival. Even when Uganda has always been known as a food basket in the East African community, there have always been issues of poverty and food insecurities arising in the country. Early this year, there was an acute food insecurity situation in Uganda from January to March affecting about 10.9 million citizens. Most affected were the regions of Northern and Eastern Uganda. It is believed that the situation arose from the el Nina season that took place in 2016 which caused the dry seasons to prolong leading to overall low production of crops in the country. During this time, levels of malnutrition in both children and mothers increased as well.

Currently, Uganda has been ranked as one of top refugee host countries with high refugee influx of about 1.3 million refugees from neighboring countries of South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. Due to the fact that Uganda is just a developing country with lack of  enough resources to sustain the ever growing population, some organizations have come up to aid the Government in fighting the current situation of hunger, poverty and malnutrition in the areas where the refugees have settled. Had these places been developed, then the refugees would not have had to succumb to food insecurity and its negative impacts like Malnutrition.

Over the years, the Government of Uganda has implemented programs to not only help eradicate poverty and improve food security but also lead to development of its rural areas within the country. National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADs) program was formed in 2001 to provide public agricultural advisory/extension services to all so as to provide access to agricultural information, knowledge and improved technology among rural poor farmers in the country. Operation wealth creation (OWC) formed by government to help in the facilitation of sustainable commercial agricultural production. These two work hand in hand to provide improved seedlings and livestock to the rural people of Uganda. This can boost household income among individuals and promote development. In short, Uganda looks at the improvement of Agriculture as major way of bringing about rural development and obtaining food security in the country.

The government of Uganda, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health, drafted a food security and nutrition policy in 2003 to address food and nutrition issues arising in the country as per the constitutional commitment to provide food and nutrition security for all Ugandans. Above all, the Government of Uganda came up with a School Feeding Policy to ensure that schools in conjunction with parents provide lunch meals to all children in the respective schools. However, this policy isn’t being implemented in most schools as most parents are incapable of providing an input to the feeding program financially. As a result, the different districts usually like to call upon different Organizations to support school feeding programs.

School Breakfast Program Gives Kids a Healthy Start to their Days

Written by Andrew McNamee, Manager of Public Policy and Caitlin Duncan, Grants Management Specialist

A day at school should be filled with educational challenges and social growth. But for the roughly eight percent of American children living with food insecurity, the day usually begins with hunger. The hunger stalks them throughout their childhoods. It affects their ability to focus and learn, their prospects, even their physical growth. While their friends return from summer break with stories of family vacations, sports practices, and summer camps, food insecure children have no such stories to tell. Instead, they are relieved to be back where free and reduced-price school lunches help them recover from months of inconsistent meals, as well as sometimes feeling like a burden to their family. This is how poverty and related food insecurity psychologically traumatize children for life, and it’s happening on a massive scale. Their chronic hunger affects their education, their social opportunities and sense of self –- even their physical development.

This is why the USDA’s School Breakfast Program (SBP) is so important. Research has found that providing breakfast to students has a positive effect on their academic achievement- but the benefits extend beyond that. Busy parents can get relief in the early morning when they know there is a nutritious, affordable meal available at school. Kids have the freedom to be kids when their bellies are full and they can think about games and lessons instead of where to get their next meal.

However, not all school districts offer breakfast through SBP. The program reimburses states that offer school breakfast, but participation is optional. Moreover, the number of students eating free or reduced-price school breakfasts is often far below the number of eligible students, especially when breakfast is served before the bell and many students have not yet arrived at school.

State-level efforts are underway to change this. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) has proposed a $2 million investment in the state’s school breakfast programs in his 2017-2018 budget proposal. A bill introduced in the Massachusetts state legislature would require schools that have at least 60% of their students qualifying for free or reduced-price meals, under the federal National School Lunch Program, to offer their students free breakfast. Feed the Children applauds these changes as a step towards achieving a hunger-free childhood for all children.

Some school districts have made efforts to integrate breakfast service into the school day, including ‘School Breakfast Weeks’ that introduce refreshments and socialization into breakfast programs. Or, instead of serving breakfast before school in a separate room, some districts have introduced food carts that serve students in their classrooms and integrate breakfast into the school day. Feed the Children encourages such innovative efforts to make consistent meals the norm.

Not sure how to get school breakfast started at your local schools? For those who would like to initiate school breakfast or expand on existing programs, the USDA provides a toolkit for parents, educators, administrators, and everyday concerned citizens to assist in this goal, called Energize Your Day with School Breakfast. This toolkit offers suggestions for engaging community stakeholders and for taking concrete action toward bringing nutritious, affordable breakfast to more school-aged children.

Encourage Your State Officials to Address School Lunch Shaming

Written by Caitlin Duncan, Grants Management Specialist


Making a show of throwing away a child’s hot lunch.

Making lunch contingent on performing chores in front of peers.

Sending certain children to a designated area for a cold food item.

Writing debt notices on a child’s arm.

Those examples are just some of the lunch shaming tactics that schools have used to pressure parents to repay school meal debt. The premise is that embarrassment will motivate families to pay the money back quickly. While respecting the need of school districts to recoup a sometimes staggering meal debt, we are against such practices as degrading, which can lead to a negative educational environment for children. Not having enough to eat as a child is already a discouraging struggle. Children who deal with chronic hunger should not also have to worry about public shaming when they have an overdue lunch bill.

Our vision is to create a world where no child goes to bed hungry, and in this pursuit, we believe in treating each child and family in the communities we serve with value and respect. Last summer, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which oversees school lunch programs, imposed a July 1, 2017 deadline for states to establish policies on how to treat children who cannot pay for food. We applaud the state of New Mexico for being the first state to outlaw lunch shaming, passing the Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights Act. The law requires schools to deal with parents–not children–regarding meal debt, ends practices meant to embarrass students, instructs schools to provide students with a USDA reimbursable meal regardless of debt, and outlines steps for schools to connect low-income families with available school lunch programs. We enthusiastically encourage state legislators across the country to follow suit and to develop similar policies that defend children’s dignity and promote students’ access to food at school.

To encourage positive changes to your state’s school lunch debt policy, find contact information for your locally elected officials here.

For ideas on what to share with your elected official, refer to the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) advocacy toolkit here.


Child hunger in America

Tragedy struck on the Fourth of July

Peter hasn’t had much of a childhood. Meeting him and his family broke my heart. Let me share with you what I learned from my time with them.

When he was just 9 years old, a tragedy struck Peter’s family. They went from “doing really well” to struggling to get enough to eat. Not to mention the immense emotional toll on the whole family. (Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those we serve.)

Now, they are trapped in poverty because of this one tragic event:

On July 4, 2012, at a family cookout, Peter told me his dad “was trying to split up a fight.” One of the men involved got in his truck and ran over his dad — twice. Peter’s sister, Rhea, even witnessed the horror — and she was just 11 years old.

“It broke him in half,” explains Peter’s mom, Linda. “He is paralyzed from the waist down.”

Peter’s dad went from working on a farm every day and providing for his family to being confined to a wheelchair, dependent on his family for nearly everything.

Now, this family of four is trying to survive on Linda’s minimum wage income, disability and food stamps. Getting enough to eat is a constant problem — let alone enough nutritious food for two growing teenagers.

“We have to use like beans and taters a lot,” Peter says. “That’s about usually all we got to eat.”

And Peter is having a tough time in school. It’s hard to concentrate in class when he’s hungry. His dream is to join the National Guard so he can “help people.” But he has to get through school first.

“I’m in 7th, supposed to be in 9th,” he says. “I just want it to end.”

Peter and his family are living in poverty — real poverty that many Americans would like to believe doesn’t happen in our country. But it does and it’s heartbreaking to see.

And when the situation is this hard, the kids are very aware of how bad it is.

“We don’t have very much money to be able to get like food and drinks and stuff like that,” Peter shares. “And we have to scrape up the change or wait ‘til my mom gets her paycheck.”

Peter hesitantly admits to me that he has been so hungry that he gets a “big stomachache.” He’s small for his age and looks like he doesn’t get enough nutritious food. Peter also has scoliosis that causes “a lot of pain” at times.

Despite his own challenges, Peter is a very responsible, caring son. He does all he can to help his mom with chores around the house and take care of his dad. Peter worries about him. He says:

“I sleep on the floor because my dad, he’s hurt and in case anything happens, I’ll be right there.”

— Peter

I saw Peter’s bed. It’s a pile of blankets. But he finds the good in it, saying the floor is like a very firm mattress and it helps with his scoliosis pain.

When I asked Peter what he wants most for his family, he told me:

“I wish that we had a little bit more food and a little bit more money. And I wish that my dad could walk again.”

I wish we could help Peter’s dad walk again. But what you and I can do is give them a little more hope for the future by meeting their urgent need for food and other household essentials. Simple items like cereal, canned vegetables, spaghetti and toilet paper can make a big difference for Peter and his family.

You can make a difference for a family trapped in poverty

Please give today to help feed hungry children like Peter and Rhea.

When we gave this family boxes of food and essentials, I’ve never seen the kind of response we got. Peter and Rhea tore into that box of food like it was Christmas morning.

Your gift today can provide food and essentials that will put smiles on the faces of children like these two.

28808-blog image-rhea and peter


You can provide food and essentials for hungry children like Peter and Rhea!

Child Sponsorship: You can change a child’s life!

Shinayida, age 5

When you say YES to a child like 5-year-old Shinayida of Malawi, you can rescue that precious boy or girl from the enemies of childhood — hunger, disease and poverty.

The benefits of being a sponsor

For $34 a month — just over $1 a day — you can provide food and other life essentials to a child in desperate need. As a sponsor:

Your child will receive:


You’ll receive:


1. A photo and important information about your sponsored child.
2. The opportunity to communicate with your child through letters that show how much you care.
3. Updates on your child, plus notes and/or drawings from your child.

You can make a difference like Jose’s sponsor

Jose, age 12

José is a 12-year-old in Honduras who has had a sponsor for two years. He says:

“I have been able to continue my studies and I no longer go hungry at school. I am able to eat delicious food.”

And José’s father says, “I am very grateful for all the help you have bestowed on us. We are now able to move forward, we have never had help before but now you help us with food, school supplies, shoes and better nutrition.”

You can give the gift of childhood: Yareling’s story

Yareling, age 8

In 8-year-old Yareling’s Honduras community, 70 percent of the families are trapped in poverty. Yareling’s sponsor has made a big difference in her life for more than two years now. She says:

“I feel happy because Feed the Children has helped so much with the backpack and school supplies, food, shoes and even toys.”

And her mom says: “I feel so grateful with the program because in my particular case I have seen a change in my daughter, she is happier, more active and loves going to class with her school bag and school supplies. I thank you so much for the help you have given me, my daughter and all the children in the community.”

That’s the kind of difference you can make as a sponsor!


Say YES and change a child’s life!

Step in to make a life-changing difference for a child — just like José and Yareling’s sponsors have done.

For $34 a month, you’ll help rescue a boy or girl from the enemies of childhood: hunger, disease and poverty. Please say YES!

I want to find a child to sponsor!

Hunger in America: One mom’s story


Everything was going well for Teri and her daughters. As a single mom, it’s not easy, but Teri had a good job and she was able to provide for her family. (Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those we serve.)

Then one morning she went to work, and, along with 1,900 other employees, was hit with the shocking news that the manufacturing plant was being closed.

How would she provide for 9-year-old Jackylee and 6-year-old Braylee?

“Everything became a struggle,” she remembers, tears streaming down her face. “I don’t have no help…and then my mama, she try to help me, too, but she’s struggling too `cause she’s on a fixed income…it’s a struggle, it’s hard.”

I asked Teri if she ever runs out of food.

“Yeah, I run out every month,” she says. “There are times like I got to the point where, like basically, we was all starving.


“There are times like I got to the point where, like basically, we was all starving.”

— Teri

And other times the family is down to the bare minimum.

“I really don’t be worried about me — I can go without — but like sometimes when they’re having to constantly eat noodles and stuff, it bothers me, they don’t so much complain, but it bothers me,” Teri says.

She tries to not let her girls see how hard this is for her, but they notice. Jakylee told her, “It’s okay mama. We know you do everything you can for us.”

Those simple words touched her heart: “It kind of broke me up.”

Like most parents, Teri has a strong sense of responsibility. In tears, she says, “I’m use to being able to give them whatever they want and I don’t like to have to ask people for help.”


And like most parents, she wants to protect her children from getting hurt. But one of her girls shared this:

“…about a week ago, she was telling me that some kid asked her, ‘Is that the only pair of shoes you got `cause you wear them every day?’ Like that did something to me — it made me mad that this kid did that, and then it hurt me too, `cause I’m like, what can I do `cause I don’t want my kids getting picked at because I fall short.”

Everything is a struggle — shoes, clothing, food.

Teri remembers having to tell Jakylee that she had cereal but not milk.

“She’ll be like, ‘I’m not hungry,’ and she’ll go to bed…” says Teri. “It’s like she just be trying to make it easier on me. But I know that `cause I know her and I know how she eat and for her to go to bed and say she’s not hungry, she ain’t going to eat, I know it’s not true.”

You can stand in the gap for a family in need

Please give today to help parents like Teri provide for their hungry children. Your gift can provide boxes filled with food and essentials that will put smiles on the faces of children like Braylee.



You can provide food and essentials for hungry children like Braylee!

Celebrating National Agriculture Day

Written by Andrew McNamee, Manager of Public Policy

Today is the Agriculture Council of America’s (ACA) National Agriculture Day! The ACA began the National Agriculture Day program in 1973, and it has continued during National Agriculture Week every subsequent March. National Ag Day celebrates the contributions of agriculture to our everyday lives, and encourages Americans to understand how their food products are produced and the role agriculture plays in the economy.

At Feed the Children, we gratefully recognize the critical role America’s farmers play in our shared prosperity. Thanks to continual innovation and research, the U.S. enjoys an agricultural surplus unrivaled in human history. However, on this National Ag Day, we recognize there is still room for improvement, because prosperity in food production does not guarantee food security or a nutritionally aware population. The fact is that we still struggle to ensure that our most vulnerable children—even children in the same rural farming communities where so much food is produced—have access to a healthy, nourishing diet. We have spent nearly four decades working to fill in the gaps, whether through food distribution by our trucking fleet, the delivery of backpacks containing food and hygiene essentials, or the provision of summer meals to food-insecure kids when school is out. We work with donors, volunteers and corporate partners to make sure that our country’s food security and nutritional health match our agricultural accomplishments.

We are also active internationally, with programs in 10 countries, working to share America’s agricultural abundance with the world. You can learn more about our domestic programs and our international programs.

Child Hunger in America: Thomas and James’ story

Thomas is weary. As the oldest boy in his family, this 14-year-old carries a heavy weight on his narrow shoulders.

“We have a big family, so, we kinda run out [of food],” says Thomas (names have been changed to protect the privacy of those we serve).

“It’s not fun to be hungry. I just wish life here was better for all of us,” he continues. “And I wish there was more food for all of us, instead of all of us going hungry…”

Thomas is especially protective of his 6-year-old brother, James.

“He’s the funnest little brother anybody could have,” says Thomas. “Me and him do a lot of stuff together. We go fishing. We go walking up and down the road. We go walk in the creek. We swim. We play a lot. It’s fun.”

James agrees, saying, “I like to do things with my brother.” He also really likes their dog, Brownie.

The brothers have a special bond. As a teenage boy, Thomas is always hungry, but he often gives up his share of food for James.

“I’m thinking that, well, he needs more food than I will…,” Thomas explains. He says simply, “I love ‘em.”

Even with his big brother’s sacrifice, James still faces hunger.

“Sometimes we run low on food and I’m hungry and there’s barely any food to eat,” says James. “…when we’re low on food, I feel sad.”

Their mom, Meghan, tries her best. She’s a single mom of 7 living in a poor, rural community. She doesn’t receive any child support. Each month — each day — is a struggle.

“Sometimes I have to go hungry to feed them…I’ll eat what’s left. If there’s nothing left, then I won’t eat.”

— Meghan

“Some days I want to cry,” she says. “Some days I ask the Lord for bigger help — that’s the only thing I know to do is pray for help from the Lord.”

Like Thomas, Meghan sacrifices.

“Sometimes I have to go hungry to feed them,” she says. “I’d rather feed them than myself anyway. I mean, I’ll eat what’s left. If there’s nothing left, then I won’t eat.”

And, at times, everyone suffers.

“There’s been a couple of times they’ve — we’ve — all went to bed hungry. Yeah. And I’ve cried myself to sleep,” Meghan says. “Kids shouldn’t never have to go hungry.”

Thomas shares this burden with his mom and tries to comfort her.

“Sometimes I would wake up and I would hear that she would be crying and I would just tell her that it’s gonna be okay,” says Thomas. “And I’d actually tell her that she needs to eat too, even though sometimes she doesn’t just to feed us. And she told me that she would rather starve than us starve to death. And that kinda made me cry a little bit, too.”

“I wish there could be more food for all of us, instead of us going hungry and stuff. It’s bad.”

— Thomas

Despite all of the family’s difficulties, Thomas still has hope for a better future.

“I want to try to be a doctor with a good-paying job and support the family…,” he says.

And what does he hope for today?

“I would change mostly the way we’re living,” says Thomas. “Like there would be food on the table every night, 3 times a day.”

You can stand in the gap for a family in desperate need

Please give today to help feed hungry children like James, Thomas and their brothers and sisters. Your gift can provide boxes filled with food and essentials that will put smiles on the faces of children like James.


You can provide food and essentials for hungry children like Thomas and James!