Photo: Getty / Rick Kern
Whether you're a Travel Channel junkie or avid listener of the Goop podcast, you've likely come across Andrew Zimmern inspiring you to pursue your passions and be the very best version of yourself. The James Beard award-winning chef, writer, TV personality and philanthropist is best known for his love of food, but he is just as passionate about making the world a better place—and helping you do the same. Zimmern has dedicated time to helping the homeless, hungry and addicts get back on their feet and live healthier, happier lives.
Zimmern's latest passion project is working with The Y to help feed hungry kids during the summertime through the The Y Summer Food Program. This program meets in local YMCAs, apartment complexes and parks across the country to help feed the 20 million low-income children living in the U.S. The Y Summer Food Program provides lunch, dinner and snacks to children in need all summer long, as many students solely rely on the National School Lunch Program for nourishment—leaving them without a reliable meal for three months a year.
Related: 2019 EatingWell American Food Heroes
"It's criminal we can't feed children in 2019 in the greatest country on earth," Zimmerman said. "I can't think of a more important thing than feeding people."
Zimmern said he was thrilled the Y reached out to partner with him for this cause, as he has many fond memories from his local YMCA growing up. Zimmern says this program served its 100,000,000th meal in 2018, and we should get behind anyone has actually found a solution to one of our nation's biggest problems.
"Without adequate food, sleep and emotional care, anything that doesn't nourish a child is traumatic for them," Zimmern said. "We can change the outcome for millions by simply feeding them, as children perform better in school, have more energy and get into less trouble when they have a hot meal in their bellies."
Zimmern encourages people to get involved with this cause, as The Y is a non-profit organization and can only go as far as we power it. He loves that the organization supports youth-building in every way—a resource he says is more important now than ever before. Whether you want to simply write a check or pop in to your local YMCA to find out how you can help, your efforts could change a child's life for the better.
"It's important to help spread awareness of this cause of child hunger, as there are people in this country who think we are all wealthy, but more progress needs to be made," Zimmern said. "We've driven the ball 80 yards down the field but have just stopped there. We can't afford to do that, or we will start seeing the same developmental issues and growth problems found in other countries with fewer resources."
Visit TheYFeedKids.org to get involved with your local Summer Food Program—or request to bring one to your community—today. Zimmern also urges people to get out and vote to help create economic prosperity for all and protect a generation of American children born into poverty.