NBC15 Share Your Holidays: Student's poem on hunger

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- One in six children in our area face hunger. One in six.

And, each year, Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin meets nearly one million requests to help families battling hunger in our area alone.

“When we talk about childhood hunger, we refer to a lot of national studies that are done that talks about the impact on educational outcomes, health issues, maybe even family dynamics. But when you see it happen right in your community, it touches you right here [in the heart] and you know that it’s real,” said Dan Stein, president and CEO of Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin.

On Wednesday, Stein joined NBC15's John Stofflet and Amy Pflugshaupt in the studio with Mark Miller, the vice president of sales at Naviant, Inc., to unveil a new promotional announcement for the Share Your Holidays Campaign. It features a poem written by an anonymous Madison fifth grader, facing hunger.

The powerful poem reads as follows:

"I try to not think about it.
I look at my page.
The figures blur and fade.
In and out,
Out and in.

I try to not think about it.
The words I just heard.
What were they?
Who said them?
In and out,
Out and in.

I try to not think about it.
I stand to go to my next class.
Dizzy.
Slowly.
One step in front of the other.
One forward,
One back.

I try to not think about it.
My hands move to put the puzzle in place.
I can't concentrate.
I can't talk.
I can’t learn.
I can’t move.
I am hungry.

I try not to think about it.
Even when I do get something to eat,
I'm so hungry,
I can't…"

Miller started working with Second Harvest about 13 years ago and has a very personal reason connecting him to the campaign.

“About 35 years ago, my family had lots of hunger insecurity and were always looking for food. I think, at the time, Second Harvest may not have been available and so I decided when I was in a position to give back to my community, I wanted to find a charity that I thought really could have helped me in that situation in our family,” he said.

He can relate to the author of the poem.

“I can put myself in that same situation. I was about 10-years-old when I was experiencing some of those same feelings and they completely resonate with me today, too,” Miller said.

Miller is one of the 2018 recipients of the “Be Like Mike” award—a recognition given to those who embody the charitable spirit of Mike McKinney, the longtime NBC15 anchor who founded “Share Your Holidays” in 1996.

Last year, in 2017, the campaign raised more meals than ever before—a record 4.18 million meals. The goal and theme for 2018 is to raise just “One More Meal.”

You may donate anytime online at www.NBC15ShareYourHolidays.com. $1 equals 3 meals.

Or consider making a difference simply by taking a photo during the Thursday, Nov. 16, Social Media Blitz.

Here's how it works:

1. Download and print this sign

2. Take a selfie/picture holding the #SYH 23 sign and have fun with it.

3. Post the photo to Second Harvest’s Facebook page using #SYH23 in your post.

For each photo posted, Miller’s employer Naviant, Inc., will donate 15 meals (up to 15,000 meals) for those in our community facing hunger.

Our goal for this year's Social Media Blitz is 1,000 photos in a single day.