Help Fight Against Hunger This Summer

Summer time is the quintessential season for picnics, family reunions, and backyard BBQs, where food is often in abundance. As you fill up on seconds or contemplate that second piece of cake, you may not realize that 1 in 6 people in America face hunger and approximately 49 million Americans struggle to put food on the table. “Food insecurity”, also known as the lack of access to have enough food for all household members, affects millions of households throughout the country, many of which have children.


Adequate nutrition is important to maintain the physical and mental health of individuals of every age, but is even more crucial for children who are still in the developmental stages. During the school year, an estimated 22 million children get free or reduced-priced meals through the National School Lunch Program. However, when school is out for the summer, only about 3.9 million receive meals through the USDA Summer Food Service Program.


Food is taken for granted, particularly if no one has ever experienced what it’s like to go hungry). Even if you’ve never faced hunger first hand, there are ways to help fight against hunger in your community during the summer months:

Donate to a Local Food Bank


Many people make food donations to their local food bank during the “season of giving”, but most food banks accept and rely on food donations year round. Each time you go to the grocery store, stock up on a few extra items to donate. While many food banks will accept whatever they get in donations, it may be a smart idea to see what items they need or would prefer to receive. Some ideas for food donations include non-perishable proteins such as peanut butter, baby items (diapers, food, and formula), healthy snack foods for kids, condiments/spices, and personal hygiene products.

Make a Monetary Donation


If you want to do something more than donating actual food, consider making a monetary donation to a summer food program in your area. You can make a one time donation or sign up to be a sponsor throughout the school year.

Utilize Your Green Thumb


In many cities throughout the country, there are community gardens, in which the harvested fruits and vegetables are donated to local food banks. If you have a green thumb or even know how to water and pull a few weeds, there’s a good chance that your help will be greatly appreciated. Additionally, if you have excess harvest at your home garden, consider donating to a food bank rather than letting your harvest go to waste.



Another good way to fight against hunger in your community is by volunteering. Whether you gather a group of friends together to help prepare a meal at a food kitchen, stock shelves at a food bank, host a food drive, or deliver meals to families with young children or senior citizens, you are actively fighting against hunger in your community.


The Troublesome Nature of Instant Gratification

The Risks of Giving In

Today more than ever, the world is at our fingertips. A quick search on our smart phone, a quick entry of our credit card number, a drive-thru window—we can have, it seems, anything we want, and quickly. But if we considered the long-term effects of those decisions, perhaps we wouldn’t make them so haphazardly. Rarely is the deal as good as it sounds; something that gratifies us right now may have costs later on. Often, in chasing the thrill of instant gratification, we’re compelled to take a risk. When those risks don’t pay off, they can have serious consequences.

For example, imagine that after a long night at a party, a drunk guest and his friends are craving fast food, right that second. It can’t wait! They hop in the car, but on the way to the drive-thru, the driver loses control of the vehicle and kills a pedestrian. It was, of course, an accident, but that sort of accident is entirely preventable, note personal injury lawyers Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. If the driver had weighed the lifetime effects on the victim’s family against his instant need for a hamburger, he would never have gotten in the car. The truth is, it’s usually pretty hard to suppress our immediate desires, but learning to do so may not be such a bad idea.

The Benefits of Delayed Gratification

Giving into our desire for instant gratification can have long-reaching negative implications. In a famous 1970 psychology experiment, Stanford researcher Walter Mischel offered young children a single marshmallow, with the promise that if they waited a few minutes, they could have two. Most children did not hold out for the second goodie, but the ones who did were found to enjoy greater success later in life (as measured by higher SAT scores, higher college completion rates, and higher incomes). On the flip side, more recent research suggests that adults who can’t delay their gratification are more likely to have higher BMI’s and drug-addiction problems.

Luckily, the research also suggests that we can outsmart our immediate desires. A key player is attention—the less we think about the desire, the less likely we are to satisfy it immediately. So, distracting ourselves for even a few minutes (from, say, the idea of a fast-food run after a party) may help us resist. Another factor is our ability to imagine the appeal of the delayed rewards. Typically, it’s hard to wait for something that by virtue of being in the future is rather abstract, especially if the immediate reward is right within our grasp. One way to get around this tendency is to try to flip that situation: hide the immediate temptation, or pretend it’s something else, while visualizing specific details of the future reward. No one is perfect, and we are bound to give in to our desire for instant gratification once in a while. Considering the negative effects of doing so, however, we would do well to try to overcome that instinct.