Local Hunger and Malnutrition

9, 10, 11, 12

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.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • describe the difference between hunger and malnutrition.
  • identify how the four sectors of society work together to diminish hunger in the local community.
  • Journal notebooks
  • Selections from Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt that relate to hunger

McCourt, Frank. Angela’s Ashes. New York: Scribner, 1999. ISBN: 068484267X


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Using online dictionaries, ask the learners to define hunger. Come to a common definition on the board. 

  2. 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 malnutritionMalnutrition means a person’s 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 don’t develop normally. People suffer from hunger because they don’t get enough food, and hunger can lead to malnutrition over the long term. Starvation is a form of malnutrition.

  3. Divide the class into two groups. Have one group read the passage from Angela’s Ashes (Handout: Hunger - Five Years Old) related to hunger. The second group will read the passage from Angela’s Ashes (Handout: Hunger - Ten Years Old). Compare the passages. Discuss how hunger affected Frank McCourt and his brothers, physically and psychologically at two different times in his life and on two different continents.

  4. List statistics of child hunger and child poverty in your state on the board. Use the statistics to generate a discussion about hunger and poverty in your area. Questions could include the following:

    • What causes hunger in the community?
    • Why is there hunger in the midst of abundance?
    • What is the connection between hunger and poverty?
    • Are all people who go hungry unemployed?
  5. Working in small groups on the Internet, have the learners research the organizations in their community that address hunger. Have each learner identify the services offered by an organization and share with the class as a whole.

  6. Classify the list of organizations in the community as either a governmentfor profit businessnonprofit 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?

  7. Based on learner presentations, ask the class to select one organization they would like to learn more about support. Have a learner contact the organization to interview them or invite them to speak to the class.

Cross Curriculum 

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

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Explain why needs are met in different ways by government, business, civil society and family.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Provide a needed service.