LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Many people don't have to think twice about how to feed their children, but some families in Kentuckiana struggle every day, not knowing where their food will come from.
"Imagine being a 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 year old and actually wondering if you'll live," said Colmon Elridge, executive assistant to Gov. Steve Beshear.
When Elridge was a child, he fought the fear of not having enough to eat. "It's a scary, scary reality," he said.
It's a reality that thousands of children face each day in both Kentucky and Indiana.
Elridge remembered, "There were times we hid our food insecurity extraordinarily well. There were times we did not."
His wasn't the only family to struggle. Back in 1969, the Ellis family hid the fact there was not enough food in their home until their 9-year-old son Bobby died of starvation. That was the beginning of Dare to Care. Flash forward 45 years and still, Elridge said, "This is a reality for many more people than you realize."
One out of four children here in Kentuckiana goes to bed hungry. Many of those children have no idea where their next meal will come from or when their next chance to eat will be. Ninety-five Jefferson County public schools will offer 55,000 students the option of free breakfast and lunch, realizing the connection between proper nutrition and a child's academic, physical and mental development, but there is a dangerous gap from Friday to Monday.
The good news, said Kevin Beam with Blessings in a Backpack, is, "We provide weekend nutrition to elementary schools all across the country."
So does Dare to Care's Backpack Buddy Program, but Beam points out, "Somebody has to buy that food."
Annette Ball with Backpack Buddy said, "We do purchase food. A lot of the food at Dare to Care is donated and we utilize that but for these programs we purchase the food."
She said each child in the household receives the same type of nutritious food and the same amount of food. "It really does take funding to make it happen."
Beam added, "It's donations from individuals. It's donations from small businesses. It's donation from foundations and corporations."
No child or parent ever pays the cost, but without the money, a child needs someone to step up and sponsor his or her weekend meals. That's where Kentuckiana's most exciting cookbook from A Recipe to End Hunger comes in.
It's a compilation of recipes from celebrities, chefs and restaurants that the community can purchase. All funds raised by A Recipe to End Hunger will support the backpack programs. WAVE Country can also look forward to cooking demonstrations and classes for a fee. Those funds will be used to help solve a big problem.
"It is a crisis anytime a child does not have the comfort of knowing they can have a meal," Elridge said. "That's a crisis."
Ball said, "The smallest gift makes a difference...If you think your gift is too small, it's not. It's really making an impact."
Donations to Blessings in a Backpack and Dare to Care's Back Pack Buddy can be made directly to both charities.
If you sign up to get information about the cookbook, you'll automatically get a recipe for Dawne's Buttermilk Pie as a thank you!