Why World Food Program USA’s Lunch Money Challenge is a Chance to Teach Your Kids About Charitable Giving

Pencils. Books. Backpacks. What did your children need as they went back to school this fall? In many areas of the world, the most important thing that children need to be ready to learn is more basic: a nutritious meal! Our ability to access food in the United States is often taken for granted until we realize the true impact of what it means to be hungry. Hungry kids have trouble learning but in countries around the world such as Kenya, Niger, and Honduras, school meals are life changing.

This week the World Food Program USA (WFP USA) is encouraging families around the country to pack lunches for 5 days and donate the money you would have spent buying lunch in your workplace cafeteria or going out to eat to WFP USA’s Lunch Money Challenge. All it takes is a quarter a day to provide a healthy meal for a child through the Home Grown School Meals program, a nutritious and sustainable program that uses food by local farmers.

Providing a nutritious meal each day helps to improve life chances for kids in Honduras, Niger, and Kenya. School meals give poor families an incentive to send their children to school, especially girls who may not otherwise have the opportunity to receive education. The meals help kids reach their full potential by breaking the cycle of hunger and poverty for the world’s most vulnerable kids.

The Lunch Money Challenge can serve as a great springboard for talking about social good with your children since it’s one the whole family can get involved in. Talk to your kids about why you’re bringing lunch this week, rather than buying it from the school cafeteria. Chances are they’ll be on board and happy to give up school pizza for the week. After all, a study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and supported by the United Nations Foundation found that 9 out of 10 American youth between the ages 8-19 give money to organizations that support charitable causes.

According to mom, former teacher, blogger, and social good advocate, Elena Sonnino, “teaching our children to use their voices for good- as change agents- and to be charitable is a gift that we can give them.” Sonnino encourages parents to be a role model but also have a conversation about giving with children that explains our action and behaviors.

If you don’t know where to start, she suggests discussing these questions:

  • Do my children know that I give to charity?
  • Do they know which charities I am supporting?
  • Do they know why I choose to give specifically to this charity and the impact of my giving?

And why do we want to raise charitable children? Sonnino believes that “learning about others and caring about others impacts everyone. Our 21st century children are entering a world with the understanding that what impacts one child, far away, has a ripple effect on all of us.”

So go ahead and get involved by starting with The Lunch Money Challenge. Line up your lunch bags, make some sandwiches, grab a piece of fruit, and repeat it five times and teach your kids how to help others around the world with this very simple act that can make a world of difference.

Image courtesy of World Food Program USA

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