Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Community Leaders Step Up To End Child Hunger
One in eight Alaskans struggle to put food on the table, a reality that has Kokayi Nosakhere determined to end child hunger by 2015.
Nearly half of Alaska's children go hungry each day.
It’s a harsh reality that makes Kokayi Nosakhere mad, but he’s using jars of peanut butter to do something about it.
Peanut butter is considered food bank gold because of its long shelf life and even longer list of nutrients, and Nosakhere is using it to reach one ultimate goal: end child hunger.
It’s a mission that seems pretty simple.
But for Nosakhere, the thousands of kids still going hungry in Anchorage neighborhoods are thousands that deserve to be fed.
“There are 13,910 children in the school district that are counted as hungry,” said Nosakhere.
When he talks about feeding Alaska’s kids, you can hear the passion in his voice.
“How do we allow someone who is vulnerable to starve?” Nosakhere asked. “Their organs aren't developing, their brain isn't developing because they don't have the nutrients to develop.”
One in eight Alaskans struggle to put food on the table, a reality that has Nosakhere determined to end child hunger by 2015.
“We are going to have do something that's a little bit more creative then waiting on the status quo to address our children being hungry,” Nosakhere said.
He doesn’t wait around, and Alaskans are taking note.
“Our kids are our future and I think we owe it to them to give them a good start,” said Sen. Bill Wielechowski.
The Anchorage Democrat said many lawmakers don’t grasp the extent of the problem.
“It doesn’t matter what district you are in,” Wielechowski said. “You’re going to have kids in your district who are going to bed hungry at night.”
Nosakhere said they’re children that deserve the chance to succeed.
“We have no choice, we have to feed our children,” he said. “They’re our children.”
His plea hasn't fallen on deaf ears. At Goldenview Middle School, students are more than eager to help out.
“It’s our duty to make sure that they can get fed,” said eight-grader Delaney Devenport. “Kids can't help themselves, they can't get jobs, most of them can't get jobs at this young of an age.”
The students organizing a food drive to aid Nosakhere’s mission realize it could easily happen to them.
“It can be me if dad or someone loses a job and you need help,” said eight-grader Wyatt Hubble.
“They are very motivated,” said Mary Frances Karnos, a social studies teacher at the school. “They have that young attitude about life that they can make a difference.”
Nosakhere said more people should be a part of the solution by noticing the signs and doing something about it.
You can help by conducting a peanut butter drive, donating $20 to the Food Bank of Alaska or giving 20 hours of time to distribute food.
"If we have this many children who are hungry, why don't we have our leaders up in arms, trying to deal with something that is basically an epidemic?" Nosakhere asked.