Battling child hunger

November 29, 2011 3:55:44 PM PST
6abc's annual food drive is well under way and all month long, we've been sharing stories of families in need.

The Federal Government says 17 million children in America are now food insecure, meaning their parents often don't know where their next meal is coming from.

Marianne Lynch was one of those mothers.

"I went from being married to not being married really suddenly," Marianne said.

It was the dead of winter in Vermont and it took months for child support payments to kick in.

"You either had to choose between heat and eating," Marianne said.

College educated and middle-class, Marianne was ashamed by her sudden poverty and sought help from a food pantry in a neighboring town.

"They made it such a dignified experience for me that I was like 'ok, I can do this.' If they believe in me and that I'm a good person and that this is temporary then I'm going to get through this," Marianne said.

That was 11 years ago. Marianne says she vowed once she got through it, she would help others in need.

"She's been helping people ever since," Marianne's son Kyle Fisher said.

She worked at a food bank in Vermont and is now the development director for Philabundance where her mission is to convince people why it's so important to help the hungry.

Child hunger has reached such epic proportions Sesame Street has introduced Lily, a hungry muppet.

In Philadelphia, a staggering 1 in 3 children lives in poverty. Studies show children who are hungry suffer a host of problems.

"It's more difficult for them to pay attention in school. They have behavior issues," Marianne said.

Though Kyle was just a baby, his mom makes sure he understands how hard it is to go hungry.

"You take it for granted. A lot of people don't have that freedom to just go to the fridge and take out orange juice or whatever you need," Kyle said.

If you'd like to help families in need this holiday season, click here to see the many ways that you can Connect-Share-Give.

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