What Will You Bring?
Students carry out a food simulation in which they discover that while there is enough food produced in the United States to feed everyone, access to food is not equal or fair. They investigate the issue of hunger locally and nationally and then plan a service project with the theme "What Will You Bring to the Table?" Students become aware that working together as a group and in partnership with nonprofit and community groups can help them make a difference as they advocate for some of the children in the United States who go to bed hungry.
Focus Question: What can a group of young people do to raise awareness and make a difference about chidhood hunger?
The learner will:
- participate in a simulation to understand unequal food distribution and the related issues.
- investigate local andnationalfood insecurity.
- identify time, talent, and treasure students can bring to the table.
- propose solutions to the issue of hunger in the community.
- take action through designing and carrying out a service to address the issue of childhunger.
- use communication skills to advocate, promote, and demonstrate.
- articles about hunger (statistics or current events) printed for students from theprovided websites or websites of the teacher’s choice (see Bibliographical References)
- teacher copy of Handout One: Global Hunger Simulation
- group copies of Handouts Two and Three: Hunger Investigation and Hunger Research Organizer
- a box of crackers
- 21 index cards
Students may contact a local food bank to ask about their needs and ways that the class can help. Ask what their most-needed food items are. Ask about other ways young people can help, such as by raising awareness about the needs. Feeding America has a food bank locator here: http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx
- food insecurity: the risk or fear of not having consistent access to food that meets people's dietary needs and food preferences; not being sure one will have enough food or the right food to feel full, grow, and be healthy
- hunger: an uneasy or unpleasant feeling caused by an empty stomach
- malnutrition: a state of poor nutrition caused by either insufficient food supply or by an unbalanced diet
- philanthropy: giving or sharing time, talent, or treasure and taking action for the common good
- starving: not having enough food to grow or be healthy
- opportunity cost: the next best alternative that must be given up when a choice is made.
Read: A jogger was running along the ocean shore early one morning. He was surprised to see that the tide had brought in and stranded thousands of starfish on the beach. He came upon a man tossing the starfish one-by-one back into the sea in an effort to save them from sure death. The jogger asked the man what difference his actions made against such impossible odds. The man held up another starfish, and said as he turned to toss it back into the sea, ”It makes a difference to this one!”
Write: Realizing that one in five children in the United States are hungry, what difference can the work of one small group of young people make? In what way is our hunger project like the man tossing back the starfish? To whom are we making a difference?
- Feeding America--Scroll over the different states to see their hunger statistics and compare: http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-studies/map-the-meal-gap.aspx
- Feeding America has a food bank locator here: http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx
- FreeRice.com--Practice basic skills while earning rice for hungry people worldwide: www.freerice.com
- Food First is a nonprofit, research think tank and education-for-action center identifying the root causes and solutions to hunger and poverty, with a commitment to food as a human right. www.foodfirst.org
- Share Our Strength -- Nonprofit organization that mobilizes individuals and businesses to fight hunger www.strength.org/
Food Insecurity Websites:
- Food Research and Action Center - http://frac.org/
Bread for the World - http://www.bread.org/hungerbasics/domestic.html
Share Our Strength (No Kid Hungry) - http://www.nokidhungry.org/problem/hunger-facts
World Food Programme - http://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats
World Hunger Education Service - http://worldhunger.org/
News Sources (Use search function to find current articles about "hunger.")
Show the students a package of crackers that has more than enough pieces in it for every student. Tell them that, like thesecrackersthat can be distributed fairly so everyone gets enough, the nation's food supply is enough to feed everyone. Then ask, "Why, if there is enough to go around,do you thinkone in five children in theUnited Statesgo to bed hungry?"Listen to their responses. Tell them that later in the lesson they will read more facts about hunger.
Carry out the global hunger simulation on Handout One. Through this simulation, students will see that although there is enough food, the distribution is not equal. Discuss the simulation using the following questions:
- Which countries have enough food?
- Which countries do not have enough food?
- What are some different ways to distribute the food (fairly and unfairly)?
- Whose responsibility is it to make sure food is distributed to everyone?
- What can the food-rich countries do to make the situation more fair?
- What can governments (United NationsMillennium Goals)and nonprofits (Feeding America, Share Our Strength. World Food Programme) do to reduce food insecurity?
- What can families and young people do?
Have the students work in groups of 3-6. Each group creates a concept web about the effects of hunger on a child at school. Tellthem to write the word "hunger" in the middle of the web with lines extending from the center. Students brainstorm and organize their web to show what hunger feels like, looks like and sounds like. They may add the effects hunger has on schoolwork, health, personal life, mood or attitude. Learners may fill out the web based on personal knowledge or knowledge gained from media or movies.
An elected reporter from each peer group shares answers with the entire class.Create a class web on the board where group responses are compiled by the teacher or by a recorder.Facilitate adiscussion of unusual responses and common responses as a group. Ask the students, "Do we know that allof these facts/observations are true?" Tell them that they are going to investigate hunger/food insecuritylocally and nationallyin order to determine whatthe issue is, what the needs are, and whatcan bedoneby a group of determined people.
Assign articles (see Bibliographical References) or allow students to choose what they want to investigate. They read informationaltext, gather information, and integrate the information into a report to share with the rest of theclass.Some students may want to call the local food pantry to learnabout local needs.Whether they are investigating a local or national region, have each group research and be ready to share the following minimum information:
- Define the area you are investigating.
- How manychildren are experiencing food insecurity in the area?
- What are some organizations that are addressing the issue in the area?
- What is needed to help address the issue (time, talent, donations)?
- What are some local features and resources of the area (geographically and interpersonally)?
- How does this compare with what you thought? What is your reflection on the issue and what our class can do?
Each group gatherskey ideas and detailsand prepares a short report to integrate knowledge and share what they learned about child hunger in the United States. This may take an extra day of class or may be assigned ashomework. Thenext class period begins with their summary and observation of the facts. Handouts Two and Three may help the groups organize their research collection.
Have each group share the facts they investigated and summarize their observations about the needs. Discuss the reports by asking a few questions:
- What facts surprised or challenged you?
- What can be done to help?
- What cannot be changed?
- How do you think working with a nonprofit organization helps end hunger?
- What is a benefit of the students in our school working together as a group (along with community partners) to address the issue?
- What is the opportunity cost of taking action to address the issue of child hunger? What opportunity would we give up if we took action? Is it worth it?
Explain that the government has a responsibility to help address the needs of its people who are hungry. Discuss why programs like SNAP and free and reduced lunches at school (which are government funded programs) are helpful but are not enough. There are 17 million children hungry in the United States (that is 1 in 5 children who are not sure they will have enough food for their next meal). Discuss whether the government should be solely responsibleor business and nonprofits also have a role.
Tell the students that we all (young and old) are part of the philanthropy sector (which includes nonprofits) in the United States. All major social movements and reform have been led by people taking action and volunteering their time, talent, or treasure for the common good. It may be that the action we take is to tell the goverment to do more. Or maybe our role is to encourage individuals and organizations to help.
Tell the students that they are going to make a very special table and take action to help bring food to hungry children. Describe the project "What Will You Bring to the Table?" and the possible ways to carry it out. For example, they may paint a new or old table to look like a work of art and display it in the community along with information on how the community can bring something to the table for children who are hungry. Or, your class may set up a table in the gym and invite families to donate canned goods or money for the local food bank. The table may be a meeting place for groups to talk about the issue of child hunger and propose solutions. The students can plan how to decorate the table and make posters telling about the food drive. Or students may make models of tables with pre-printed facts about childhood hunger in the United States and ideas for people to take action. Be creative to address a local or national hunger need.
Teacher Note: Using the Food Bank Locator, locate food banks in the community that the class might consider partnering with to help with the food drive project. This site also tells about the hunger statistics in your community. http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-studies/map-the-meal-gap.aspx
Guide the students as they plan their project and set goals. Preparation for their service should include contacting partners, gathering supplies, determining what volunteers will do, and communicating their plan and inviting others to get involved in the action (marketing and social media).
Days Three and Beyond
Get started on taking action and carry out the table project over several days and weeks. Engage the students in critical thinking and problem solving as questions and challenges arise. Help them recognize that they are making a difference.
As students work on the hunger project centered around a table, they can document what they are doing, keep graphs and records of food collected and donated, if you are collecting treasure.
Reflect with students daily on how it is going, what needs to be done, and how they feel about their work. Work on this project while you continue to learn about child hunger and reflect on progress and what the students are doing. Have students sit around a table to discuss what time, talent, and treasure people can "bring to the table" to reduce child hunger. Discuss the class results. Sample questions: How do you feel about what you are bringing to the table? Why is a table a good place to discuss hunger and bring the community together? Is our project important or making a differnce to children who are hungry?
After the project is complete, involve the students in reporting on the project in a formal demonstration that may include delivering supplies, thanking people who helped, and creatively demonstrating the success of the project. Be sure to tell the media and school community about the success. The demonstration may include a display of numbers and student work on the table. Invite families to view the demonstration, which may be a presentation or display.
Use the handout "Assessment of Service-Learning" to evaluate the service-learning process. This is a good documentation tool to help you recognize what went well and what you would like to improve in the next service-learning experience.
The students design and carry out a service project called, "What Will You Bring to the Table?" The project involves taking action to address the issue of child hunger in their community through a food drive or awareness campaign. Part of the project involves decorating or building a table to raise awareness and encourage others to helpchildren who are hungry. They may use a real table, a mural of a table, or a tablecloth set up in the lunchroom. They may be creative about their table and where it is displayed. The table may be a collection site for donations or a display that teaches others about the needs of children who are hungry in the United States. The table can also be a gathering place for conversations about hunger and what they can do to address the issue.
Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
Benchmark HS.1 Explain why needs are met in different ways by government, business, civil society and family.
Benchmark HS.6 Describe how the civil society sector is often the origin of new ideas, projects and innovation and social renewal.
Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
Benchmark HS.3 Explain how <i>opportunity cost</i> relates to philanthropic giving by individuals and corporations.
Benchmark HS.9 Analyze a major social issue as a "commons problem" and suggest ways the civil society sector could help to resolve it.
Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
Benchmark HS.1 Identify international civil society sector organizations and map their locations.
Benchmark HS.2 Identify and describe how civil society sector organizations help people nationally and internationally.
Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
Benchmark HS.7 Examine the role of a country as a member of various international communities.
Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
Benchmark HS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the community, state or nation, such as petitioning authority, advocating, voting, group problem solving, mock trials or classroom governance and elections.
Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
Benchmark HS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
Benchmark HS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
Standard VS 03. Providing Service
Benchmark HS.1 Provide a needed service.
Benchmark HS.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
Benchmark HS.2 Evaluate progress on the service-learning project before, during, and after the project.
Benchmark HS.3 Identify outcomes from the service.