Hunger exists in every community in the country, affecting nearly 50 million Americans, including 16 million children. That translates to one of out every seven people in the U.S., meaning that we all likely know several people who struggle to find food for their family. In fact, households with children experience food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without.
September is Hunger Action Month, a monthlong effort to raise awareness about hunger relief and call on individuals to take action to fight hunger in their communities. And, with school back in session, the time is perfect for each of us to do our part to make sure their stomachs are as full as their backpacks.
Food insecurity can be particularly devastating among children, impacting their ability to learn, grow and thrive. Hunger Action Month is an opportunity to join a movement that has a real and lasting impact in reducing food insecurity among our most vulnerable. At Citizens Bank, we lead a year-round effort to end hunger through Citizens Helping Citizens Fight Hunger to help feed the hungry in the local communities we serve.
In Connecticut, Citizens Bank funds the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center’s annual Hunger Action Month campaign and Mobile Pantry program. Each September, the bank partners with the Food Center to volunteer at Mobile Pantry sites and build public awareness regarding food insecurity in the state, as well as to inspire volunteerism and increased charitable contributions from community partners.
Citizens Bank strives to set an example in the local communities where we operate. In 2016, through contributions to local food banks and other food programs, we’re donating 3.3 million meals across our footprint to feed our neighbors in need. In addition, our colleagues are actively engaged in the fight against hunger through food drives, volunteering at local food banks and other efforts. We’re also leveraging our social media channels to help raise awareness about this important issue and giving our followers information on how they can join the year-round fight against hunger.
Let this Hunger Action Month be the start of an ongoing and long-term commitment to ending hunger. Whether it’s by advocating and raising awareness, making donations or volunteering, we all can help lay the critical foundation for a healthy, happy future for our children. Together, we can make a difference for so many of our neighbors in need.
Lisa Maass is president of Citizens Bank in Connecticut.