Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Local Hunger and Malnutrition
Lesson 2
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


Learners will describe how hunger and malnutrition are related, but not the same problems. They will recognize hunger as a universal theme in literature and analyze the role of the four sectors of society in solving problems of hunger in the community.


Three Forty-Five Minute Class Periods


The learner will:

  • describe the difference between hunger and malnutrition.
  • compare experiences of hunger evidenced in literature.
  • identify how the four sectors of society work together to diminish hunger in the local community.

Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.

Students will take a field trip to a food pantry and help to organize a Harvest for Hunger campaign at their school.


  • Journal notebooks
  • Dictionaries
  • Computer lab with Internet access
  • Selections from Angelaís Ashes by Frank McCourt that relate to hunger
Handout 1
Hunger - Five Years Old
Handout 2
Hunger - Ten Years Old

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:

Ask the learners to list all the places in their community that provide food for the needy. Compile the list on the chalkboard.

  • Using dictionaries, ask the learners to define hunger. Place the definition on the board. Explain that we all feel hungry at times. Hunger is the way the body signals that it needs to eat. Ask the learners to explain the difference between hunger and malnutrition. Malnutrition means a personís body lacks the nutrients necessary to grow and stay healthy. The condition may result from an inadequate or an unbalanced diet. People who go hungry all the time and are malnourished donít develop normally. People suffer from hunger because they donít get enough food, and hunger can lead to malnutrition over the long term. Starvation is a form of malnutrition.
  • Divide the class into two groups. Have one group read the passage from Angelaís Ashes (Attachment One: Hunger - Five Years Old) related to hunger. The second group will read the passage from Angelaís Ashes (Attachment Two: Hunger - Ten Years Old). Compare the passages. Discuss how hunger effected Frank McCourt and his brothers, physically and psychologically at two different times in his life and on two different continents.
  • List statistics of child hunger and child poverty in Ohio on the chalkboard. (Information is available at www.Toledofoodbank.org). Use the statistics to generate a discussion about hunger and poverty in your area. Questions could include the following:
  • What causes hunger in the learnersí communities?
  • Why is there hunger in the midst of abundance?
  • What is the connection between hunger and poverty?
  • Are all people who go hungry unemployed?
  • Working in small groups on the Internet, have the learners research the organizations in their community that address hunger (using the information collected from the anticipatory set and other sources). Have each learner identify the services offered by an organization being researched by sharing information with the class as a whole.
  • Now that the learners have clear examples of organizations in the community which provide food for the hungry, ask them to classify each group as either a government, for profit business, nonprofit or family organization (four sectors of society). Ask the learners to explain why needs related to hunger and malnutrition are handled in different ways by government, business, philanthropy and family. Why is there a need for all of these groups in society?
  • Based on learner presentations, ask the class to select one organization they would like to support. Plan and take a field trip to the organization the following week.
  • To support local food drives, go to http://harvestforhunger.org for information on setting up a Harvest for Hunger campaign in the school. Click on "Campaign Tools."

Teacher Note: Although this is an Ohio web site it contains valuable ideas for conducting a food drive or raising money for hunger relief.

Let the learners decide on the best way to conduct a food drive or raise money to donate to a food bank. (Most needed food items include tuna fish, canned vegetables, canned or boxed baby food, peanut butter, boxed pasta and canned beef stew.) They should decide on the project, make a plan for its execution and carry it through.


Ask the learners to write a brief essay in their journals describing the difference between hunger and malnutrition. They should then include a description of the work of the organization they researched and categorize it as one of the four sectors of society. An alternate topic for inclusion in the journals could be: "What the word hunger means to me now."

Bibliographical References:

Lesson Developed By:

Linda Wims
Cleveland Municipal Schools
Cleveland Extension High School
Cleveland, OH 44102


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Hunger - Five Years Old

Excerpts from Angelaís Ashes by Frank McCourt. At this point in the autobiography Frank is about five years old and living in New York City.

Chapter 1

My mother tells me all the time, Never, never leave that playground except to come home. But what am I to do with the twins bawling with the hunger in the pram? I tell Malachy Iíll be back in a minute. I make sure no one is looking, grab a bunch of bananas outside the Italian grocery shop and run down Myrtle Avenue, away from the playground, around the block and back to the other end where thereís a hole in the fence. We push the pram to a dark corner and peel the bananas for the twins. There are five bananas in the bunch and we feast on them in the dark corner. The twins slobber and chew and spread banana over their faces, their hair, their clothes. I realize then that questions will be asked. Mam will want to know why the twins are smothered in bananas, where did you get them? I canít tell her about the Italian shop on the corner. I will have to say. A man.

Thatís what Iíll say. A man.

Then the strange thing happens. Thereís a man at the gate of the playground. Heís calling me. Oh, God, itís the Italian. Hey, sonny, come Ďere. Hey, talkiní to ya. Come Ďere.

I go to him.

You the kid wid the little bruddas, right? Twins?

Yes, sir.

Heah. Gotta bag oí fruit. I doní give it to you I trow id out. Right? So, heah, take the bag. Ya got apples, oranges, bananas. Ya like bananas, right? I think ya like bananas, eh? Ha, ha. I know ya like the bananas. Heah, take the bag. Ya gotta nice mother there. Ya father? Well, ya know, heís got the problem, the Irish thing. Give them twins a banana. Shud Ďem up. I hear íem all the way cross the street.

Thank you, sir.

Jeez. Polite kid, eh? Where ja loin dat?

My father told me to say thanks, sir.

Your father? Oh, well.


McCourt, Frank. 1996. Angelaís Ashes. Scribner. New York, NY.

Handout 2Print Handout 2

Hunger - Ten Years Old

Excerpts from Angelaís Ashes by Frank McCourt. At this point in the autobiography Frank is about ten years old and living in Limerick, Ireland.

Chapter 10

Malachy has another powerful idea, that we could go around Limerick like tinkers pushing Alphie in his pram into pubs for the sweets and lemonade, but I donít want Mam finding out and hitting me with her right cross. Malachy says Iím not a sport and runs off. I push the pram over to Henry Street and up by the Redemptorist church. Itís a gray day, the church is gray and the small crowd of people outside the door of the priestsí house is gray. They Ďre waiting to beg for any food left over from the priestsí dinner.

There in the middle of the crowd in her dirty gray coat is my mother.

This is my own mother, begging. This is worse than the dole, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Dispensary. Itís the worst kind of shame, almost as bad as begging on the streets where the tinkers hold up their scabby children, Give us a penny for the poor child, mister, the poor child is hungry, missus.

My mother is a beggar now and if anyone from the lane or my school sees her the family will be disgraced entirely. My pals will make up new names and torment me in the schoolyard and I know what theyíll say,

Frankie McCourt

beggar womanís boy





The door of the priestsí house swings open and the people rush their hands out. I can here them, Brother, brother, here, brother, ah, for the love oí God, brother. Five children at home, brother. I can see my own mother pushed along. I can see the tightness of her mouth when she snatches at a bag and turns from the door and I push the pram up the street before she can see me.

I donít want to go home anymore. I push the pram down to the Dock Road, out to Corkanree where all the dust and garbage of Limerick is dumped and burned. I stand a while and look at boys chase rats. I donít know why they have to torture rats that are not in their houses. Iíd keep going on into the country forever if I didnít have Alphie bawling with the hunger, kicking his chubby legs, waving his empty bottle.


McCourt, Frank. 1996. Angelaís Ashes. Scribner. New York, NY.

Philanthropy Framework:

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