Help Children in the Wake of Tragedy
To the millions of children around the world who have lost everything and everyone due to earthquakes, floods, HIV/AIDS and other disasters - SOS means hope. With your support, we will continue to provide stable homes, meals, an education and medical care to children who are victims of floods or earthquakes in Pakistan, Haiti and Chile, just as we continue to nurture victims of other disasters.
SOS Children's Villages operates 500 Children's Villages worldwide where we provide loving homes to orphaned and abandoned children. Through our Family Strengthening Programs, we provide support to those who are struggling to keep their families together.
Thank you for making a difference in the world.
As unparalleled floods destroy homes, roads and the rural economy of Pakistan, another kind of commerce is all the easier: human trafficking. And it is orphaned children who are the first victims. These children who disappear often reappear behind doors and streets as child laborers, indentured servants or child prostitutes. This is why child protection in the face of any natural disaster is a major goal for SOS Children's Villages.
In Haiti, our Childrens Village outside of Port-au-Prince is now home to 408 children - double the number before the horrific January earthquake. We are providing meals and medical care to 20,000 people still in limbo. And, when 33 children were stopped from being brought into the Dominican Republic illegally, Haitian child welfare officials turned to SOS to provide them with a safe haven.
In Pakistan, SOS is working directly with the Concerned Citizens of Pakistan to distribute $2 million in food and emergency supplies. This week, our trucks delivered 80,000 meals and 500 tents, and more will follow. Thankfully, our eight villages in Pakistan have been spared the effects of flooding and our doors are open to children who have nowhere else to turn.
In Chile, following an 8.8 earthquake on February 27th, SOS worked with the National Emergency Office to provide greatly needed food, shelter and generators to children and families in the most impacted zones. Our 13 Villages suffered damage but continued to provide security to hundreds of children.
Please help to sustain SOS programs around the world. You can make the difference between a child growing up in a secure, loving SOS home, or a life as a child laborer or prostitute. Make a difference now.
Thank you for your support.
Heather Paul, PhD
SOS Children's Villages - USA
P.S. A donation of just $25 can buy one more food packet and $100 can buy one more tent. You can make a difference.
Although the United States is the wealthiest nation in the world, millions of children in our nation are food insecure, meaning they are either currently hungry or nearing hunger. Children who are undernourished are at greater risk for serious health, social, and educational problems. Today, many public food-assistance programs and private organizations strive to meet the nutritional needs of vulnerable children, but more needs to be done to fight child hunger.
The Impact of Child Hunger
Child hunger affects many aspects of children’s lives, from physical and mental development to emotional well being. Below are some of the issues associated with childhood hunger.
Health Risks Associated with Undernourishment
Children from many poor families receive less than 70 percent of the recommended daily intake of major nutrients. This deficiency translates into increased risk for serious and costly health problems, including anemia, impaired cognitive development, and stunted growth. Children suffering from hunger or near hunger are also less likely to have access to sufficient medical care.
Behavioral and Social Development
Food insufficiency also hinders children’s social development. Studies show that child hunger may be linked to behavioral problems, delayed social development, anxiety, and other emotional problems.
For emotional, cognitive, and physical reasons, a hungry or undernourished child faces significant educational challenges. School attendance and academic performance both suffer due to student undernourishment. Food insufficiency—often caused by missed breakfast—diminishes a child’s ability to retain knowledge, concentrate, and develop language and math skills.
Policy Recommendations to Fight Child Hunger
Ending childhood hunger is an important battle. The challenges our children face today impact how well they’re able to achieve their full potential. Below are some of the ways we’re fighting to end hunger for America’s children:
Ensure that Children Have the Nutrition They Need at School
Children need nutrition to help them grow and learn. Established in 1946, the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program were designed to help fill this need. These programs play critical roles in providing quality nutritious meals to millions of children every day for free or at a reduced cost. Children from families at or below 130 percent of the poverty level qualify for free meals, and children from families between 130 and 185 percent of the poverty level qualify for meals at a reduced price. Unfortunately, many children from working poor families often cannot even afford the reduced rate.
While nearly 18 million children qualified for free or reduced-price meals in 2007, just over 8 million of these children participated in the School Breakfast Program. The old adage is true: breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for children. Some schools do not offer the School Breakfast Program, and in others logistical barriers, such as bussing schedules, don’t allow enough time for children to eat breakfast before the school day begins. To reach more children, the level of reimbursement for the School Breakfast Program should be increased to encourage more schools to participate.
Expand Access to Quality Nutrition in the Summer
Food pantries, soup kitchens, and other charitable food assistance organizations report seeing an increased need for food assistance for children during summer months. While more than 18 million children participated in the free or reduced-cost school meal programs in 2007, only 3 million received daily assistance through the Summer Food Service Program. (SFSP) [LINK TO SFSP POLICY PAGE]. One of the largest barriers to serving more children in the summer is that there are not enough organizations willing to sponsor the program. The administrative and policy barriers to this program should be streamlined to encourage more agencies to participate, bringing meal service to more children in communities nationwide.
Improve Access to Nutrition Afterschool
For too many children, access to complete nutritious meals is limited to what children receive at school. This leaves evenings, weekends, and vacations where children may be lacking adequate nutrition. In 2007, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provided congregate snacks and meals to over 3 million children and seniors in daycare homes, centers, and afterschool care. There are currently 8 states that receive meal reimbursement for service to children through the At-Risk Afterschool Snack portion of CACFP. In other states, afterschool programs, like Kids Cafes, are often serving complete meals to children, but only being reimbursed at the snack rate. Improvements can be made to reach more children outside of school hours by expanding the number of states that can serve meals to children in these “at-risk” areas.
Want to learn more about child hunger? Click the links below for more information on how children are affected by hunger and what we’re doing to help.
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