Well, it’s official, he’s four. Another birthday has come and gone and my baby is a little boy. I know it’s been said before… the days are long, but the years are short. And this birthday was as festive and special as his others with one little difference, we hosted a mini food drive for the Houston Food Bank.Every year for his birthday we do a donation, in the past three years we’ve collected camp supplies and back-to-school supplies for children experiencing homelessness. This year though I asked my little man what he would like to donate for his birthday and he chose food. Whenever we decided to do donations for his birthday it wasn’t because we didn’t want him to receive any gifts. Trust me between the grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and close friends he still receives many birthday gifts just for him. But really we decided to do birthday donations because it was something small, one small step we could take to live out and encourage the value of giving and community.We want him to grow up knowing that even though we celebrate him and his birthday on this beautiful day, we can share that celebration with the community around us. We want him to grow up knowing that we can always be kind, we can be helpers in any situation and even if it’s just a small amount in our way we can give and share.Just like swim and music and reading and soccer, kindness and giving is a value that can be learned and a skill that can be strengthened. It seems these days that everywhere we look our differences are shouted, our shortcomings highlighted, our faults magnified. Our desire as a family is not only finding our value, but finding connection with others, finding what unites us, finding out how to go from me to we with a little kindness, heart, imagination and passion. So when he said he wanted to donate food, I was so excited (and proud) of him. Because, “on a given day, 66,000 people in southeast Texas experience the pain of hunger and have no food: 5,000 are children”. And 2/3 of these families with children are working and 97% of them live in permanent housing, but they are often faced with making difficult decisions such as, between paying for food and other necessities like their utilities, mortgage, medical care and transportation. And we were absolute happy that we could even in a small way help The Houston Food Bank, who assists, “800,000 individuals [to] receive food assistance each year through [their] network of hunger relief charities.” Hunger is a huge problem we face here in Texas, in America and all over the world. Will one 4yr old’s food drive end it… no, but it is one step, one splash, one light lit and truly we believe it doesn’t have to be all about the grand gesture, but just a daily living of kindness, love and giving to the community we are a part of. And we are so grateful that our close community of family and friends are so generous, kind and loving, because of their donations his food drive was so special and successful.
**For more facts (like the ones above), info and even some activities check out the Houston Food Bank’s Hunger 101 Curriculum.