Aliah Williamson | Copy Desk
Hunger is more than just an uncomfortable rumbling in your stomach. Hunger can affect mood, the immune system, the brain and many other parts of the body. So how can we expect children to behave correctly, be healthy enough to attend school and be focused enough to learn if they are hungry? One in five children are affected by food insecurity and it’s a bigger deal in our country than we think. Alesia Pickney, a fourth year, five-year MBA student from New Castle, Pennsylvania tackled the issue head on this summer.
A friend of Alesia’s posted on Facebook that she was worried about how some of her students would eat over the Memorial Day holiday weekend and Alesia was moved to tears. Two days later, she set her plan into motion. No stranger to community service and event planning, Alesia quickly came up with the Food for Thought Campaign, whose mission is to fight hunger one child at a time. Alesia’s determination and efficiency is amazing to behold. She is extremely professional and was able to quickly draft an 11 page official proposal, get 64 major donors, over $3,000 in donations and pull off a successful event.
On May 23, the Food for Thought Campaign’s first official event took place with over 302 children registered. At the event, children from Pre-K to 12th grade played Olympic Games, icebreakers and were treated to a delicious lunch and prizes. The donors contributed financial resources, in-kind gift cards and many volunteers. The biggest sponsors of the event were Victory Christian Center and Lawrence County Community Action Partnership (LCCAP). There were many emotional moments according to Alesia. “All I could do is cry.”
When you do all the planning, it can become discouraging. But on Saturday, seeing that food insecurity is a real issue, it all became real and very emotional.” Alesia recalled that there were other children on the playground, who also had not had a full meal in days, who looked on the festivities wondering if they could join. When a little girl was invited to the picnic, despite the fact that she had not registered, the first thing that little girl did was run to get her younger brother in order to assure that he was also fed.
The facts about food insecurity are daunting. Hunger in America is caused not by a lack of food but by poverty. Children do not have the right nutrients to help them grow and develop properly. While many children have free or reduced lunch while at school, very few schools offer breakfast or food on weekends or school breaks. Alesia’s Food for Thought Campaign seeks to not only provide children with nutritious meals but also to provide education about food insecurity in order to move others to support such an important cause.
If you are wondering how you can get involved. Alesia says that you can contact her through her website: www.alesiapickney.weebly.com.
“We understand the ultimate sacrifice is time,” said Alesia. “Should students show compassion about fighting hunger then we will be able to sit down and think about new ideas… it will be beneficial to this campaign because of the new insights and new ideas.” Two Hampton students have already contributed their time and effort. Brett “BrizzyFlow” Harris produced an official campaign video and Kayla Monroe’s Stella’s Lens photography services provided the gorgeous and professional campaign photos.
Alesia is passionate about what she does and she sees a bright future for the campaign. She is currently working on turning the Food for Thought Campaign into a legal nonprofit, and hopes to also bring the campaign to Hampton, Virginia, which also has a large, impoverished population that suffers from food insecurity. “When you do what you love, and the world needs it, it’s your mission. My mission, Alesia’s Food for Thought’s mission, is to fight hunger one child at a time.”
For more information, visit www.alesiapickney.weebly.com