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It’s a simple fact: A child’s chance for a bright tomorrow starts with getting enough healthy food to eat today. But in America, 1 in 6 children may not know where they will get their next meal. For the nearly 13 million kids in the U.S. facing hunger, getting the energy they need to learn and grow can be a day-in, day-out challenge.

Real Story of Hunger: Meet Zoey

Zoey is 11 and lives in Maine. Like all kids, Zoey deserves a life where she doesn’t have to worry if she will have enough to eat. Zoey can grow into a healthy adult thanks in part to free breakfast and lunch programs at school and a summer lunch program, made possible by the Feeding America network. But many children in America don’t have access to the nutritious foods they need.

What happens when a child faces hunger?

Kids who don’t get enough to eat — especially during their first three years — begin life at a serious disadvantage. When they’re hungry, children are more likely to be hospitalized and they face higher risks of health conditions like anemia and asthma. And as they grow up, kids struggling to get enough to eat are more likely to have problems in school and other social situations.

Children struggling with hunger come from families who are struggling, too

Children facing hunger often grow up in a family where a parent or parents also face hunger.

  • A family of four facing hunger may be in need of 36 additional meals a month simply because they don’t have money to buy enough food.
  • 84% of households Feeding America serves report buying the cheapest food — instead of healthy food — in order to provide enough to eat.
  • 20% of children in households at risk of hunger may be forced to rely exclusively on charitable organizations like Feeding America to make ends meet.

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