16 Million….


What does 16 million look like? 16 million would fill the National Football League’s Bank of America Stadium (Panther Stadium) 216 times. 16 million would fill the average basketball arena 845 times.  16 million is 2 times the population of New York City and 4 times the population of Los Angeles.

16 million children in America struggle with hunger.  That figure translates to 1 in 5 kids in the United States that are “food insecure.”  That means that these children live in households that lack the means to regularly put nutritious food on the table.  The type of food that in necessary to lead healthy, active lives.

How would you respond to a child that said to you, “Do you have anything to eat?  I’m hungry.”  A little boy in North Carolina asked his principal that question.  He was asking for himself and his two brothers.  Some parents have to send notes to school asking that their child not be fed because they do not have the money to pay for school meals.  Even those children that get three meals a day may be malnourished because of the quality of food that they eat. 

You can help! Here’s how:

  • Join us for Recruitment Day on May 2ndand take the pledge!  By taking the pledge you are saying that you are ready to join the over 330,000 members of Team No Kid Hungry who are willing to be the voice for the voiceless children who face hunger daily.  Go to http://www.nokidhungry.org/team  to take the pledge.
  • Forward the No Kid Hungry link to 16 friends, in honor of the 16 million hungry kids, and ask them to join you and Team No Kid Hungry.
  • Go to http://actioncenter.nokidhungry.org to see what you can do in your community.
  • Like the  No Kid Hungry page on Facebook
  • Follow No Kid Hungry on Twitter: @nokidhungry
  • Download the No Kid Hungry app to your phone and complete missions to earn badges.

Why I’m Racing for Team No Kid Hungry

      Over the last year or so, I have become a huge fan and participant in obstacle racing. Each event is about conquering every obstacle on your way to the finish line. I train every day to make sure that in my next event, I will be able to overcome whatever obstacle I might face. It recently occurred to me that children facing hunger run an obstacle race of their own every day! A race they can’t train for. And their goal is not to get a medal. Their goal is to eat and grow and learn.
      The obstacles that hungry kids face begin at home and in the community. There are programs out there that not only provide food to struggling families but inform families about healthy food choices and teach how to make limited food choices go further. However due to lack of knowledge about these programs, lack of access, and quite often embarrassment about needing help, kids are not receiving the healthy meals they need.
     These obstacles to getting healthy food lead to bigger problems for food insecure children. Food insecurity in childhood has been linked to increased hospitalization, developmental problems, headaches, stomachaches, and even colds. Childhood hunger has also been linked to significant adult health problems.
     While facing all of these obstacles, the hungry child is then tasked with going to school and trying to learn. Think about what these children are being asked to do. Some of these children come to school with their last meal being school lunch from the previous day. How well would you perform your job if you came to work hungry? Could you concentrate on the task at hand? Would you be irritable? Would you do your best work? No, you wouldn’t. You would be thinking about when you were going to get something to eat. Now think about a child going to school hungry and trying to focus on school when all she is thinking about is lunch. Kids don’t have the ability to ignore hunger pains the way adults do. Teachers cite the inability to concentrate, poor academic performance, behavior problems and health issues as obstacles facing hungry students. If the hungry student can’t learn, how will she succeed in school and in life after school?
     Share Our Strength and No Kid Hungry are dedicated to solving the issue of childhood hunger in America. By working to protect SNAP, educate families, improve access to public/private programs, and strengthen community systems that get healthy meals to children, Share Our Strength/NKH can ensure that hungry kids win their obstacle race.

This Saturday, March 23rd, I will be running in the Carolinas Spartan Sprint and running for No Kid Hungry because I believe no child in America should go hungry. Check out my fundraising page if you would like to help. http://join.strength.org/goto/jfriendImage

Be the Change for You Challenge Update

So Week One of my BTC4You 30-day challenge is in the books!  Let’s see how I did in regard to my Bucket List…

Number One on my list was to do better at meeting my nutritional needs.  Don’t hate me, but what I found after consulting a nutritionist was that I was actually not eating enough calories in the day. I was actually coming up about 1,500 calories short! And my timing was off.  I was really bad about post-workout refueling. So in this past week, I have eaten well and often. I keep a bag of almonds on hand at all times. 🙂 I have also made sure to replace my carbs within 30 minutes after my workout. I was sooo bad about that! But it makes such a difference in how you feel the next day.  I’ve started a no carbs after lunch meal plan with the exception of recovery nutrition. We will see how that goes…..

Number Two on my list was to drink more water.  I’ve known for awhile that I should have been doing better in the water department. But it’s so hard for me during the winter! So for the past week, I have rarely been seen without my big red water bottle. I have been able to get close to 96oz a day.  With the combination of cleaner eating and drinking lots of water, I feel less sluggish and just have a “lighter” feeling throughout the day. It feels great!

My first three list items all go hand in hand. Third on my list is to not over-train. I have been really focused on doing well in my upcoming Spartan Race and have been working out really hard for months. The problems begin when I don’t incorporate “rest” days.  Fitness pros will tell you that recovery days are just as important, if not more important, than training days. In the past 2 months, I have not been resting enough and I was starting to feel it.  Over-training coupled with a on-going orthopedic issue caused me to have a couple of nagging injuries.  Before taking the 30-day challenge, I would have ignored what my body was telling me and pushed on.  This past week, however, I went to the doctor and worked on the orthopedic issue and I stayed away from really hard workouts.  My body is thankful and injury free! Now I am in good shape for this final push before my race! 

Number Four! Read every day! This was an easy one.  All it took was setting aside a little quiet time. I’ve really enjoyed getting back in the books. I enjoy books like other people enjoy movies. I get completely lost in them. I completed “Flight Behavior” and “Ishmael: An Adventure of Mind and Spirit” this past week. Both were great books but a tad on the depressing side. This week’s book will have to be lighthearted!!

Progress on the projects around my house was list item Number Five. This past week, I was able to get the chalkboard project done. I have a new fascination with chalkboard paint!! It’s so fun! I finally got all the yard debris up that resulted from the winter storms. Bathroom light fixture is awaiting an electrician. Re-casing/painting some door frames is underway. That will probably take the entire 30-days!! And I’m pretty sure I’ve inhaled some lead paint dust!

Lastly, list item Number Six. BE POWERFUL BEYOND MEASURE. This is a work in progress. I am letting my own light shine! From Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?…Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do…It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”


Be The Change for YOU Challenge 2013

30 day commitment to an improved ME!

Here’s my bucket list of what I will change/accomplish in the next month to improve my overall happiness and well-being:

1. Get my nutritional needs met. Eat enough of the right food! Lean protein, good fats, good carbs, iron-rich and hopefully local and fresh.

2. Drink more water!!!!

3. Don’t over-train! Rest when my body tells me to rest. This is very hard for me. But believe me, your body will tell you when it’s had enough!!

4. Read every day. Never stop learning. I used to read a book every few days and I don’t know why I stopped. Currently reading “Flight Behavior” by Barbara Kingsolver.

5. Finish all the little projects around the house that need to get done. In a nearly 100 year-old house something always needs to be done.

6. Be powerful beyond measure. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”