A video shows how one simple dinner plate can say a ton about hunger in America.

There’s something delicious and addicting about those trendy recipe videos circulating online.

You've seen them before: the quick and beautiful play-by-plays of mouthwatering dishes you wish you were eating at this very moment.

GIF via Tasty/YouTube.


The recipes seem so simple and magical and get you thinking, "Maybe I can make that five-cheese bacon lasagna tonight." And before you know it, you're at the store loading up on Colby-Monterey Jack (or is that just me?).

For some families, though, the ingredients and final product look a little different.

Image via Feeding America.

As part of Hunger Action Month, the hunger-relief organization Feeding America is using our obsession with cooking videos to highlight the reality many food-insecure families face when they sit down for dinner: an empty plate.

By putting a twist on the bite-sized food videos all over the internet, they hope to raise awareness that empty plates and empty stomachs are an unacceptable reality for too many families.

Currently, 1 in 7 people in the United States — in our schools, communities, and in every county across the country — struggle with hunger.

“Today, we are down to our last dime,” Gaby, a mother of three from Tennessee, told Feeding America. “After the bills are paid, there is no money left. In fact, there is no money to pay the bills.”

There are 48 million other Americans who know that feeling well.

“We never thought our lives would turn out like this — no one does,” said Gaby. It was after she and her husband Josh both lost their full-time jobs that they found themselves financially underwater while trying to raise three kids. Their money for food quickly dissolved.

Kids have the most to lose with an empty plate.

Research shows that an average food-insecure family of four may forgo up to 100 meals a month because they lack enough money to buy food. That can be detrimental to the physical and emotional development of a child.

When kids don’t have energy, they can’t concentrate, learn, or grow. How are they supposed to chase their dreams and become productive members of society under those circumstances?

The good news is that hunger is a problem that can be solved — if we work together to do it.

There are simple ways to help: becoming involved with a local food bank, checking out these anti-food waste apps, putting pressure on elected officials, and even spreading awareness through fun photo campaigns like this one:

“Josh and I may have to skip meals, but we make sure our children never have to,” Gaby said. “Without help from the food bank, though, I really don’t know how we’d feed them.”

Their local food bank, Second Harvest of Northeast Tennessee, has been there for them while Gaby goes back to school and Josh has started a new job. And that’s a big reason she feels confident in saying they won't always struggle like this.

Life is full of unexpected moments, but having enough food should always be a constant.

It's hard to get much done on an empty stomach, which is why reducing hunger helps kids grow and strengthens our communities. Not to mention it makes those online food videos that much more appetizing when more people can enjoy them.

Check out the full Feeding America video:

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