As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches in the U.S., you may see food drives and donation areas popping up in your community. Many people continue to struggle with food insecurity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation. In 2021, 10.2 percent of U.S. households were food insecure at some point during the year.
This season is often a time when people are more likely to be thinking about addressing hunger and malnutrition. You can use this as a teachable moment with your students by learning about the unique issues facing your community. It could be the prevalence of food deserts, economic downturn, or other factors that contribute to hunger locally.
Worldwide, food insecurity and malnutrition is on the rise due to extreme weather events, rising food prices, conflicts, and the pandemic. According to the World Food Programme, almost 193 million people around the world are acutely food insecure.
Starting with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a relevant way to learn about how hunger is being addressed creatively in different parts of the world. Specifically, SDG 2: Zero Hunger aims to end world hunger by 2030. Give your students context about what contributes to malnutrition and food insecurity, both globally and locally.
Given the seemingly overwhelming problem of access to nutritious food, it can be hard to know where to start and how best to help. As a global leader, you can inspire your students to learn about these issues and take action in your local community. Here are a few resources and ideas to help you get started!
Inspire students to turn knowledge into action
There are many people and organizations that are working toward SDG 2 in creative ways—from raising awareness using social media to connecting restaurants and food donation centers.
Use this lesson plan to learn about campaigns around the world to end hunger and inspire students to use their own talents and resources to make a difference.
Reducing food waste and reallocating resources is another powerful way to fight hunger in your community and around the world.
Take inspiration from a group of first-grade students who took action to reduce hunger in their school. Through learning about SDG 2, these students came up with a creative way to ensure other students have extra food if they need it and reduce waste in the school cafeteria.
You can use this lesson plan to have students evaluate how much food is thrown away in your own school and help them to be mindful of reducing waste.
You and your students can also use the gift of your time to volunteer at local organizations working in your community to end hunger. Food pantries, shelters that provide meals, or organizations like Meals on Wheels are good starting points to see where you can help.
Be sure to also ask students for their own suggestions! After learning about these issues, students will probably have creative ideas for projects or campaigns that will help your community. Through this type of action-driven learning, students are empowered to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills to positively impact the world.
For more ways to connect the Thanksgiving holiday to core subject areas, see the environmental impact of a Thanksgiving meal and Thanksgiving stories to start conversations in the classroom.
At Participate Learning, we want to equip you as a global educator to build your students’ academic skills and global competencies. We hope these ideas and resources will help you and your students address food insecurity and hunger while creating meaningful learning experiences.