- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Through Aug. 28, the National Press Club is hosting a special exhibit from ChildFund International, a 70-year-old children’s aid-and-empowerment organization. The exhibit is showcasing handmade toys crafted by children from around the world from debris and discarded materials.

The exhibit was kicked off earlier this month at an event hosted by longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas and ChildFund Chief Executive Officer Anne Goddard.

“When you consider that currently more than 1.5 billion children around the world live in poverty, clearly the need for support is greater now more than ever. And contrary to popular belief that this is an international need, here in the U.S., children live in poverty and need sponsorship help, too,” Ms. Goddard says.

Ms. Goddard says there is no fee to see the exhibit, because she wants to bring awareness to the resilience of children, especially in war-torn countries.

“This is about hope. It proves that children can remain passionate and courageous even in deprived circumstances,” she says.

She cites as examples a go-kart that a young boy from India made from the “32 cents his parents gave him” and the wire artwork a child from Zambia crafted depicting two children reading on a bench.

“He made that to show people that in his country, three children share a desk at school and that two at a desk should be the ideal.”

For more information, visit www.childfund.org/toys.

Food for thought

Slow Food DC, a local nonprofit dedicated to promoting sustainable meals and “greener” lifestyles through food, is part of a nationwide effort to stage “eat-ins” across the country to bring attention to the need for healthier food in public schools.

Slow Food DC’s parent organization, Slow Food USA, this summer launched Time for Lunch, a national effort to get Congress to provide America’s children with “real food” in cafeterias. Slow Food USA will hold its Washington eat-ins on Labor Day, Sept. 7.

“The way we feed our kids is a reflection of our values. We cannot, in good conscience, continue to make our kids sick by feeding them cheap byproducts of an industrial food system,” says Josh Viertel, president of Slow Food USA.

According to Slow Food DC, nearly 32 percent of children ages 2 to 19 in the United States are considered obese or overweight, and 1 in 3 grade-school children will develop diabetes as children because of poor dietary habits.

Dusty Lockhart, a spokeswoman for Slow Food DC, says nine eat-ins have been scheduled locally with a goal of 200 across the country by September.

“We want people to have a meal together to talk about food issues and sign petitions to get better food in schools,” Ms. Lockhart explains.

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