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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Miss Jr Teen Illinois United States Volunteers at Hashtag Lunchbag Chicago

ciara hashtag lunchbag chicago collage

Hashtag Lunchbag is a humanity service movement dedicated to eliminating hunger in Chicago and across the globe, one lunch bag at a time. All lunches are made and distributed by volunteers. I’m proud to say that I was one of many volunteers who helped to feed over 400 people. I hope to inspire others to help the hungry and the homeless in their community. I know that I was inspired by the team of attorney volunteers from the Black Women Lawyers’ Association who took the time to talk to me and the other girls. They partnered with Hashtag Lunchbag as the Community Service Project during their 2015 National Summit in Chicago.

Did you know that there is a connection between hunger and obesity? Well I learned from some experts that there is! My Miss United States Organization ‘Beauty With A Purpose’ platform is to be a champion in the fight to end childhood obesity. So, I was thrilled when I saw that Hashtag Lunchbag Chicago makes sure that each lunch includes healthier choices like fresh fruit, water, and even lettuce on the sandwiches. When the hungry kids and adults receive a nutritious meal, it really does make a difference.

ciara hashtag lunchbag chicago group shot

Each of us were responsible for helping to decorate 400 lunch bags, making sure to include an inspirational note for each person to read. I really hope that whoever gets my notes will know that someone cares. I put my heart into every single note. I noticed that all of the volunteers wanted to inspire the hungry and homeless people. You could tell by the wonderful notes. It was fun working alongside the attorneys from the Black Women Lawyers’ Association, the kids, the absolutely amazing coordinators and dedicated volunteers. I would especially like to thank Ms. Ebony Jones-Washington, Hashtag Lunchbag Chicago Coordinator and her entire staff for having me.

ciara decorating hashtag lunchbags

This organization believes that everyone has the power to share good deed experiences with friends and followers, and by encouraging them to also pay it forward. Sharing on your social media is the only way to make sure that our hungry brothers and sisters will continue to receive the lunch bags. You can start by retweeting below. Share, share, share… #HashtagLunchbagChicago #BeautyWithAPurpose