13 million children in the U.S. will go hungry at some point this year.

It's easy to dismiss child hunger as something that only happens in other countries, but food insecurity — the state of having your eating patterns disrupted due to a lack of food — is a big deal, and it's something that happens in our own backyards.

For many children living in food insecure homes, their only meal each day might come from school or after-school programs, which means the summer months, when they aren't in school, are some of the toughest.


A new photo series shines a light on the issue, showing "kids on an epic journey to find food."

Photographer Benjamin Von Wong wasn't all that familiar with childhood hunger in the U.S., but after a chat with some folks at Second Harvest Food Bank, he set out to create a photo campaign designed to highlight this serious issue in a way that wouldn't cause people to tune out.

"When Hunger Hits" features children going to Herculean lengths in order to find food, with individual photos showing everything from a "Mission: Impossible"-style bacon heist to an "Indiana Jones"-like discovery in the wild.

All photos by Benjamin Von Wong, used with permission.

Finding food shouldn't require heroics — especially for kids.

Childhood is enough of an adventure without having to worry about whether or not you'll be able to eat today. With food banks as some of the last lines of defense for many Americans facing hunger, those of us in a position to give back or volunteer our time should definitely consider doing so.

Think about getting in touch with your local food bank, making a donation, or sharing one of Von Wong's campaign-related memes on your social media channels.

And for a behind the scenes look at the "When Hunger Strikes" photo series, check out the video below.

I live in Washington, the state with the first official outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. While my family lives several hours from Seattle, it was alarming to be near the epicenter—especially early in the pandemic when we knew even less about the coronavirus than we know now.

As tracking websites went up and statistics started pouring in, things looked hairy for Washington. But not for long. We could have and should have shut everything down faster than we did, but Governor Inslee took the necessary steps to keep the virus from flying completely out of control. He's consistently gotten heat from all sides, but in general he listened to the infectious disease experts and followed the lead of public health officials—which is exactly what government needs to do in a pandemic.

As a result, we've spent the past several months watching Washington state drop from the #1 hotspot down to 23rd in the nation (as of today) for total coronavirus cases. In cases per million population, we're faring even better at number 38. We have a few counties where outbreaks are pretty bad, and cases have slowly started to rise as the state has reopened—which was to be expected—but I've felt quite satisfied with how it's been handled at the state level. The combination of strong state leadership and county-by-county reopenings has born statistically impressive results—especially considering the fact that we didn't have the lead time that other states did to prepare for the outbreak.

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