How a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Reminded Me About Hunger

| November 22, 2010 | Comments (1)

plateWhen my two year old son wakes up in the morning the first thing he wants is a cup of milk and an open-faced peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Some days it’s more out of habit than hunger. Half of it often goes uneaten or gets swiped by our dog, but we always make it.

Friday morning I was tired, groggy and going through the motions of his sandwich as he pulled on my pant leg. I sat down with him and gave him his first bite. He was hungry and tried to quickly take a second bite. I raised it to his mouth, he opened up gratefully, and then I noticed a tiny spec of mold on the crust of the bread. Peanut butter and jelly time was called off.
My little guy FREAKED. Freaked like I have never seen him freak. He wouldn’t accept anything else. I offered waffles, pancakes, cereal, yogurt, eggs, anything I could think of, but nothing would stop the tears. I froze when I realized that there are moms out there who hear these cries from their children when they’re hungry, but have nothing else to offer. I could offer options, a ton of healthy options, almost all organic. But, there are millions of mothers who can’t help their children through tears and cries of hunger. And it broke my heart.
I was able to review my resources, cut a banana in half and slather it with peanut butter and jelly. It took a little convincing, but he finally agreed to take a few bites… And then left most of it to be thrown away. Already feeling terrible about my new revelation on hunger, throwing away two breakfasts and half a loaf of bread was like a slap in the face.
So, here’s something to consider this week as you celebrate Thanksgiving: According to Feeding America, in 2008 16.7 million children lived in food insecure households. That’s 16.7 million too many.

My office building will have a food drive this week and I’ll be there with cans in hand. Consider what you can do to help secure healthy food for all children.

Photo courtesy of Catherine Hadler /

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About lisahannemaniac: Lisa is a the lone female in the house she shares north of the city with her talented husband, adorable preschooler and toddler boys, and attention-craving rescue dog. She's been pregnant for about four years, expecting her third child in October 2012. Admittedly not a mom pro yet, Lisa enjoys daily parenting blunders, works full time in fundraising, enjoys reading and cooking, focuses on healthy feeding, strives for green living, plans to start running again soon, and tries to maintain a social life. Check in on her life and her writings about her often nutty, always overbooked life at Hannemaniacs . View author profile.

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  1. Lisa says:

    In my area, we see real need regularly but I still consider that there are areas for the world where kids cant’ get breakfast and lunch through the schools at least. I truly can not imagine the pain of not having enough to give my kids what they NEED. I deal with guilt of not giving them all I’d LIKE them to have but we have been fortunate enough thus far to not be without the real necessities.

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