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"1 in 4 children in the United States could face hunger this school year. Here's what I'm doing to help."

Are you joining us on August 7 for GL's Back-to-School Music Takeover? We're *so* excited to jam out to the amaze performances and hear from our fab celeb hosts, but this year's bash has even more meaning. By tuning in on @girlslifemag Insta and TikTok, you're benefitting No Kid Hungry and helping us help the kids who are going back to school hungry this year.

Read on to hear Sophie's story and learn why No Kid Hungry's mission is *so* important rn—and how you can get involved in your own community.

My name is Sophie. I am 17 years old, a rising senior at Marietta High School in Marietta, Ga....and I am on a mission to help end childhood hunger.

For me, it all started with Emma. She was my first best friend. We were always together. We sat at the same table, played at recess and ate lunch together. After a while, I learned that Emma relied on the meals she received at school. Her family was struggling to make ends meet—and she was on the free and reduced lunch program. 

From an early age, my family instilled in me the importance of giving back. At three years old, I helped hand out blessing bags to people in my community who were experiencing homelessness. But it wasn't until my friendship with Emma that I knew someone impacted by hunger.

So, at age six, I started hosting bake sales and lemonade stands to raise funds to fight food insecurity. Instead of gifts at my birthday party, I asked for canned food to donate to the local food pantry. During summers, I organized sandwich-making events to provide lunches for kids who relied on school lunches during the year (meaning they didn't have access to midday meals on hot summer days).

When I was eight, I created my own hunger-fighting nonprofit, the Square Meal Project. Then, at age 12, I found out about No Kid Hungry—a national campaign to end childhood hunger in America by helping to connect kids to the food they need. 

But even after all these years of trying to combat childhood hunger, things seem to be only getting worse. Today, due to the coronavirus pandemic, one in four children in the United States could face hunger this year. Food insecurity impacts every city, town and suburbs across the U.S., but often hides in plain sight. Hunger can affect anyone, even your own classmates, neighbors and friends.

Here's why I'm telling you this: I need your help. Together, we can step up and take action.

How, you ask? Here's what you can do...

Volunteer.

One year, I helped give out 200 mini brown paper bags that included snacks and fun swag. Give your local food pantry a call and ask how you can help. Maybe you can pack lunch bags, serve meals on summer days, reach out to community members for donations or even help the food pantry with their social media presence or graphic design. Think about how you can take a few hours (or more) out of each month and use that free time to help someone in need.

Use your talents.

One hunger hero I know grows food and has already donated 4,500 pounds of produce this summer to hungry families in his community. Another uses their own passion for music to host a concert fundraiser in their town each year to help end childhood hunger. And another is making jewelry and donating the profits to No Kid Hungry. Whether you're a dazzling DIY designer, an aspiring entrepreneur or a creative cook, put *your* unique skills, interests and talents toward the fight to end childhood hunger. 

Use your voice.

Write to your elected officials to speak up for programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and take a stand for kids in your community. Host a virtual fundraiser on social media. Ask your friends and family to participate in a YouTube vid that educates others on food insecurity. Whether your platform is big or small, you can still make a difference and stand up for those who can't. 

No Kid Hungry has *all* the tools you need to be a succesful advocate. Now is the time to speak up, take action and learn how you can get involved. No Kid Hungry will have a place for you, so I hope to see you in the fight. Do it for your classmates, neighbors or friends like Emma in your life.

We WILL be the generation that ends childhood hunger!

by Sophie Edwards | 7/30/2020
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