Hunger and Your Community (7th Grade)

6, 7, 8

In this lesson the learners will explore food scarcity and abundance as they relate to issues of poverty, wealth and health. They will identity a need in their community and explore ways that they might help reduce poverty, hunger, and ill-health there.

PrintOne 50 minute class period

The learner will:

  • participate a simulation activity to experience what it means to have plenty of food versus not enough food.
  • become familiar with the facts about the extent of world poverty, hunger, and ill-health.
  • investigate ways in which those who lack the resources to access food and health care can be helped both locally and in the world.
  • identify the role of philanthropy in reducing poverty, hunger, and poor health both locally and in the world.
  • identify and articulate the role of food banks and food pantries in the elimination of hunger both locally and in the world.
  • identify and develop a plan to address the needs of those who are experiencing poverty, hungry, and/or are in poor health.
  • Brown paper bags with various food items/for each class member
  • Copies of Hunger Facts: International(Facts and Figures on Hunger and Poverty and Facts and Figures on Health sections only) found at
  • Copies of "Understanding Childhood Hunger." Share Our Strength
  • Current list of local food banks/food pantries, addresses, phone numbers and contact names.  PantryNet should help you locate them.
  • Newspaper fliers and advertisements for local grocery stores
Teacher Preparation 

It is important to be sensitive to the possibility that someone in your class may have some personal experience with homelessness, hunger and poverty.



  1. (Teacher Note: Prior to the start of this class period prepare a brown paper bag for each student. Place in each bag some kind of finger-food item. Place more items in some bags than others. Examples of items could include potato chips, popcorn, a candy bar, a slice of bread or two, fruit roll ups, granola bar, grapes, lettuce, cereal, potato, orange, etc...). Fold or one-staple the bag shut. Arrange the learner's desks in groups of three or four. Anticipatory Set: As the learners enter the classroom hand each student a paper towel or napkin. Tell them to find a seat in one of the groupings and to await further instructions. Once they have settled in a seat,model what they are to do with their p read it out in front of them) without using verbal cues. Once the learners have properly placed their paper towel or napkin, distribute one of these brown paper bags filled with the various items to each learner. Once everyone has received a bag tell them to open their bags and place its contents in front of them on the paper towel or napkin. Allow a couple of minutes for discussion within the small groups.

  2. Lead a class discussion having the learners share some of the comments made in their small groups concerning the contents of their bag. Capture as many of these comments as time permits by writing them on the display board (i.e. quantity or quality concerns, likes or dislikes, satisfaction or dissatisfaction, happiness or unhappiness, fairness or unfairness, etc.)

  3. Encourage those who expressed concern about their lack of quantity or quality, dislikes, satisfaction, fairness, etc. to share some of the things that could be done to lessen their concern.

  4. Encourage those who expressed little or no concern about their lack of quantity or quality, dislikes, satisfaction, fairness, etc. to share some of the things that they could do to lessen the concerns of those who "complained".

  5. Distribute a copy of Hunger Facts (Facts and Figures on Hunger and Poverty

  6. Have the students reflect on these facts and figures, and identify how the exercise they just completed might relate to what they have just read. (i.e. There are people without much if any food while others seem to have all they need and more.)

  7. Challenge them to identify ways that hunger, poverty and issues of poor heath might be addressed in order to make things more satisfactory or fair, and lead them to conclude that giving and sharing on the part of those who have more, with those who have less, is one way these issues might be addressed.

  8. Write the word philanthropy on the display board and have the learners share any prior knowledge they might have concerning this word. (Definition: giving time, talent and/or treasure for the sake of another or for the common good.) Lead the learners to an understanding that working to solve hunger issues in ones community and/or world is an act of philanthropy.

  9. Have the learners identify ways that hunger and poverty might be alleviated by an act of philanthropy in their community; in their world.

  10. Introduce the terms Food Bank/Food Pantry. Give the learners an opportunity to share prior knowledge. (Definition: places where food is contributed and made available to those in need.)

  11. Conclude this lesson by having the learners identify a need in the community related to hunger, poverty, and/or health that they feel should be addressed. Discuss ways that this might be accomplished through their involvement in some way with a local Food Bank or Food Pantry. Pantry Net can help locate them.


The learners' involvement in the small group exercise and class discussions will form the basis for assessment in this lesson. The learners could also be required to record their experiences in a journal. (Teacher Note: The Handout: Journal Rubric can be used to evaluate entries, if appropriate.)

Cross Curriculum 

Students come to a consensus on voluntary action to address an identified need related to poverty, hunger, and homelessness.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define philanthropy as individuals and organizations providing their time, talent, and/or treasures intended for the common good throughout history and around the world. Give examples.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Describe how different needs are met in different ways by government, business, civil society, and family.
      2. Benchmark MS.6 Identify significant contributions to society that come from the civil society sector.
    3. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Describe how a specific civil society organization in the community operates.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark MS.13 Describe how philanthropy can reallocate limited resources to meet human needs.
      2. Benchmark MS.14 Describe and give an example of needs not usually met by the government sector.
      3. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how civil-society-sector giving can impact communities.
      4. Benchmark MS.5 Define <i>stewardship</i> as a trust of common resources held by a community for citizens.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.11 Identify and give an example of organizations in the civil society sector that work to protect minority voices around the world.
    3. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify and research public or social issues in the community, nation or the world related to the common good. Form an opinion, and develop and present a persuasive argument using communication tools.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define and give examples of the motivations for giving and serving.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.
      3. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.