I used to teach elementary school. One summer, I decided to undertake summer school. Generally, you’re in a new setting with new kids that have an entirely different set of circumstances that the kiddos you typically teach.
It was only a few days into summer school when I noticed some of my students eating food out of the trash can that other kids had thrown away. It took every bit of strength I had to hold back my tears. I cried as soon as my students left that day and drove straight to the grocery store to buy snacks to hand out during the day. It was just a temporary band-aid. Summer school would end and the kids wouldn’t have breakfast in the cafeteria anymore nor would I be able to give them snacks.
Some of the kids got bags of food on Friday to take home for the weekend. If food didn’t go home with them, it was likely they wouldn’t have a meal until Monday morning when the school doors opened again.
Now, as a mom, it’s even more heartbreaking to think about kids not having enough to eat. I couldn’t imagine what it feels like knowing that your child is hungry, that since this basic need isn’t met it’s almost impossible for him to learn, grow, and develop as he’s supposed to.
No child should be hungry.
What can we do?
Food Bloggers Against Hunger was organized by The Giving Table. Over 200 food bloggers are posting today about childhood hunger. We’re all asking you to:
- Tell Congress that federal nutrition programs are crucial for hungry children. Use this form letter provided by Share Our Strength to make the process of sending a letter to your Congress representative quick and simple.
There’s also a movie you might want to see – A Place at the Table. It’s available on-line and OnDemand.
For today’s event, we were asked to make a meal that would cost about $4. What’s more frugal than beans and rice? It’s also full of nutrition. This recipe actually came from a friend of mine. When Nate was born, she brought me this dish. She usually tops it with cheese. I can never get enough greens, so instead of cheese I pile a bunch of baby kale on top and let it wilt as I stir it into the hot dish.
You’ll love this dish. It’s easy to make, full of flavor, and packed with nutrition. It doesn’t take much skill, either. Just chop and throw it in the slow cooker.
When you’re feeding your family tonight, make sure to count your blessings. My Grandma Ruth has a plate that hung above her stove that read” Thank God for dirty dishes. They have a tale to tell. While other may go hungry, we’re eating very well.” Today I thank God that my family is eating well.
Make sure to send a letter to congress, too.
Serves: serves 6 - 8
- 1 pound dry beans (I used pinto beans)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 3 ribs of celery, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, grated on a microplane
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce (I used Tobasco)
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 - 3 cups water
- 1½ cups brown or white rice (I used brown)
- 3 cups water
- 4 - 6 cups greens of choice
- Sort and rinse beans well. Place in a large bowl and cover with water, leaving about 2 inches of water above the layer of beans. Soak overnight.
- Drain the beans and rinse well.
- Put the soaked beans, onion, green bell pepper, celery, garlic, salt, cumin, and hot sauce in the crock of a large slow cooker. Add the vegetable broth and enough water to cover the beans by two inches.
- Cook on low for 7 - 9 hours, until the beans are tender.
- While the beans are cooking, put the rice and water in a large sauce pan, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until rice is tender. White rice will take approximately 15 minutes, brown rice will take 45 - 55 minutes.
- Serve the rice and beans topped with greens.
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