What is Food Insecurity?

The day I was crowned I signed on to be a champion of a cause that is near and dear to my heart, fighting to help end childhood obesity. I chose this epidemic as my platform because of what I have seen with my own eyes in my Community, and what I know is going on all over the world. Half of my reign is over, and I’ve already had the chance to meet some great people and organizations dedicated to ending hunger, food insecurity, and childhood obesity. Today I’m blogging about some ways that food insecurity causes more kids in my generation to become obese and deal with their hunger.

So, What is Food Insecurity? – the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food and the anxiety over these food shortages.

Think about it, if you don’t know where your next meal is coming from then you might overeat any chance you get to. Many kids that are homeless look forward to going to school because they know that they will get to eat. Those school lunches that many of us take for granted and even tease about how nasty they taste — well some kids are just happy to get to eat. I’m thinking that is a good reason to support organizations like Let’s Move, that are also pushing for healthier eating and healthy school lunches.

hashtag lunchbag quote

There are others who consistently help homeless and needy people get a healthier meal. The charity I am passionate about volunteering at is called HashtagLunchbagChicago. What I love most is that at least 1000 homeless and hungry people KNOW that they will get to eat lunch every last Saturday of the month. They can count on it! Volunteers get together and make 1000 or more lunches, put them into hand decorated lunch bags, include a hand written message of encouragement–then head into the streets of Chicago to pass out the lunches. We become family and the family grows larger each month as we share it with others. I’m just happy to be able to do something small for people in need. Young people, we can make a difference.

The fear over food shortages can also make people buy less expensive food that isn’t very good for them. They can tend to buy foods with higher calories to avoid dealing with hunger, for example. Also, it’s harder to find a variety of quality and healthy food in poorer neighborhoods. That could explain why poorer kids can become obese and still deal with hunger. I learned that in health class and it’s a huge problem that has more than doubled in the last 30 years. We have to do something about these things. Otherwise, mine will be the first generation to be out-lived by their parents.

What do you think that people of all ages can do in the fight against childhood obesity, hunger, and food insecurity? Please share and thanks for reading my blog. Love, Ciara 🙂

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Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Feeds America’s Hungry

The Letter Carriers’ 23rd annual food drive, Stamp Out Hunger, was held on Saturday, May 9. Letter carriers all over our nation collected non-perishable food donations as they delivered mail along their postal routes. That’s a whole lot of work! In my opinion these letter carriers are heros. Ending childhood obesity, including hunger awareness, is my platform. So, I decided to help the letter carriers this year. Thank goodness for my Miss Illinois United States sister queens, director, and official coaches. The whole team went into action to participate.

Take a look at what we did to help Stamp Out Hunger feed thousands of hungry Americans. 

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive 2015

Have you heard of Stamp Out Hunger? If not, here is what I learned about the community service project.

Fun Facts:

  • It is the nation’s largest single-day food drive, and is held annually on the second Saturday in May in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.
  • Letter carriers like Chevell Evans are honored to be able to help people in need. Mr Evans accepted our donations and helped us get them into his postal van. I loved the really cool and fun t-shirt he wore.

Ciara and Stamp Out Hunger Letter Carrier

  • Hunger affects about 49 million people around the country, including millions of children and senior citizens. And one in four households with a member currently serving in the U.S. military turns to a food bank for food assistance.
  • People are encouraged to leave a bag full of non-perishable foods such as canned soup; canned vegetables; canned meats and fish; pasta; peanut butter; rice or cereal next to their mailbox before the regular mail delivery on Saturday.
  • Carriers will bring the food to local food banks, pantries or shelters, including many affiliated with Feeding America, which is a national partner in the drive.

NOTE: If your donation was not picked up, contact your local post office or simply place your donation by your mailbox on Monday instead. – Director of Community Services

When I think about how many children and families will be able to eat because of the food drive, it makes me really happy. Being able to give back to my community is an honor. Have you ever participated in Stamp Out Hunger? If not, will you next year? 

Love, Ciara

Join Relay For Life Team Miss Illinois United States Organization

Did you know that Relay for Life has been in the fight against Cancer for 30 years? That’s a very long time. I learned that the fact that cancer survivors and the people that take care of them never rest, the movement doesn’t get to rest either. The Miss United States Organization is a Relay for Life National Partner and our team is proud and honored to be able to relay this year.

The Miss Illinois United States Class of 2015 Sashes

Join the Miss Illinois United States Class of 2015 Queens Team

Please help us celebrate the 30th year anniversary of Relay for Life by doing one or all of the following:

  • Spread awareness of Relay for Life by giving us a retweet below, share on your Facebook page, or use word of mouth.
  • Donate Now. Support our Team with a donation, dedicate a Luminaria, or join our team and relay with us!
  • Start your own team or locate an event near you to support.
  • Become one of the 1 in 100 people to participate or volunteer in Relay For Life events to fight back against cancer!

History of Relay For Life

In May 1985, Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Washington. $27,000 was raised to help the American Cancer Society fight the nation’s biggest health concern cancer. A year later, 340 supporters joined the overnight event. Since those first steps, the Relay For Life movement has grown into a worldwide movement, raising nearly $5 billion to fight cancer. There is still more work to be done.

Thank you very much for visiting my blog and learning more about Relay for Life and why I relay. Have you been touched by the disease of Cancer? I will relay in honor of cancer survivors, my step-father and young fighter Carolina. Please visit her page on Facebook called Carolina’s Cause. Why do you relay?  Love, Ciara