I Heart Hungry Kids featured in Charleston Magazine

I Heart Hungry Kids featured in Charleston Magazine

Kid-fueled nonprofit I Heart Hungry Kids is growing up

by: Lauren B. Johnson

How the nonprofit started by three young brothers addresses childhood hunger

Jackson, Gabe and Riley Silverman of I Heart Hungry Kids

I Heart Hungry Kids—founded by brothers Jackson, Gabe, and Riley Silverman—works to address childhood hunger through service, community outreach, and advocacy.

As children, we’re taught to use the buddy system, share with others, and lend a helping hand. No one would expect these simple preschool lessons might apply to the complexities of the local childhood hunger crisis. But, sometimes, the most straightforward ideas can make the biggest difference.

When he was seven years old, Jackson Silverman learned that 16,000 kids go hungry each weekend in Charleston County. Having watched his mother serve at the Lowcountry Food Bank, the determined boy decided he wanted to contribute. At the time, the charity lacked opportunities for kids, so Jackson cooked up the idea for a peer-to-peer program connecting young do-gooders with the food bank’s BackPack Buddies initiative. Jackson—along with his twin brothers, Gabe and Riley—jumpstarted I Heart Hungry Kids in 2013 with the help of a $500 grant from food services giant Sodexo.

Since its founding, the focus of this kid-operated nonprofit has been on the packing parties—energetic gatherings of 135 child volunteers who assemble bags of foodstuffs. BackPack Buddies then distributes the meal kits to Title One schools in the Tricounty area each Friday. As the face of I Heart Hungry Kids’ hands-on service opportunities, Jackson kicks off each party with a welcome speech explaining the day’s mission—over the years, he’s become quite a public speaker, delivering a TED talk at the age of 11 and, later this month, a PechaKucha presentation with his brothers.

After firing up the crowd, Jackson turns the stage over to DJ Gabe, who spins high-tempo beats, while Riley hits the kitchen with a nutritionist to fuel the volunteer force with healthy snacks. The energy is palpable as kids dance down the assembly line of nonperishables. “These kids are motivated to work hard, knowing the next child who touches the bag is someone in need,” says the boys’ mom, Tiffany.

Jackson, now 14, and Gabe and Riley, now 12, have grown up alongside the nonprofit. The boys plan to host four packing parties in 2020 as well as explore the areas of philanthropy most meaningful to them. Jackson, a high-school freshman, recently collected more than 3,000 pounds of canned food for James Island Outreach for his Eagle Scout project. Riley is a grower for Katie’s Krops, tending three school garden beds to donate his harvest directly to shelters and food banks. He also heads up a fight against school lunch debt with an effort dubbed Catch Up on Lunch. During the past year, the project has paid four local schools’ debts, reducing the Tricounty’s $600,000 lunch tab by $25,000. Gabe is focused on community outreach through canned food drives, raising awareness, and fundraising events.

Josh, the boys’ dad, says helping others can be a part of a child’s life from a very young age. Tiffany adds, “Our most important job is to help our children become men of character and substance. We’re planting seeds now for a lifetime of service.”

See the original article here: https://charlestonmag.com/features/kid_fueled_nonprofit_i_heart_hungry_kids_is_growing_up


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Popcorn Plus!

Popcorn Plus!

Plain popcorn is actually a healthy treat, but kinda boring on its own. By home-making your own delicious toppings you can make them all natural, and add a kick of flavor without all the chemicals and preservatives found in store-bought flavorings.

Ranch Mix

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk

Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a container that has a lid. Add popcorn to the container, and then secure the lid. Shake well, and serve in a bowl.

Cinnamon Sugar

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Melt the butter and add the sugar and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly in a bowl, then pour over popped popcorn. Yum!

Cajun Popcorn

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a container with a secure lid. Add popcorn to the container, then secure the lid and shake well. Be sure to wash your hands after handling cayenne pepper, and avoid contact with the eyes.


Riley’s Rockin’ Recipes are designed for kids to make at home with easy to find ingredients, and are brought to you by Sodexo and the MUSC Office of Health Promotion.


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Red Heart Granola

Red Heart Granola

Riley Says: Make this heart healthy snack for your sweetheart!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup pecans, walnuts, or almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cut freeze-dried strawberries or craisins

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large bowl for all ingredients
  • Knife for chopping nuts, or just hit ’em with a rolling pin
  • Flat baking sheet 9″ x 12″
  • Parchment paper for baking

Directions

  • Heat oven to 275 degrees
  • In a big bowl, combine the oats, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, ginger, and salt until everything is all mixed up.
  • Add the oil, syrup or honey, and vanilla to the bowl. Stir until everything is coated. Riley’s Tip: pour the oil into the 1/3 cut measure first, then add to the mixture. Use the same oil-coated cup for the syrup or honey and it won’t stick!
  • Get a big flat baking sheet and put down a sheet of baking parchment paper so it won’t stick to the pan.
  • Spread the granola out in an even layer.
  • Bake for 40 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Take it out of the oven. Use oven mitts and be careful!!
  • Let cool completely.
  • Mix in the craisins or strawberries.
  • Store in an airtight container. I use a big glass jar with a steel lid that works great and is environmentally friendly too.

Yield – 4-6 cups of granola


Riley’s Rockin’ Recipes are designed for kids to make at home with easy to find ingredients, and are brought to you by Sodexo and the MUSC Office of Health Promotion.


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Healthy Hummus

Healthy Hummus

Make these protein-packed dips just the way you like them! It’s easy to go gluten-free or dairy-free by adjusting the ingredients, too.

White Bean Hummus

  • 1 can (14 ounce) cannellini beans
  • 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame paste)
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Black Bean Hummus

  • 1 can (14 oz) black beans
  • 1/3 cup salsa (mild or hot)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Asian Hummus

  • 1 can (14 oz) chickpeas or garbanzo beans
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari sauce (gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon water

Snickerdoodle Hummus

  • 1 can (14 oz) chickpeas or garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon molasses
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk or almond milk

DIRECTIONS

  • Drain and rinse the beans in a colander
  • Measure all the other ingredients into a blender, food processor, or mini-prep.
  • Add the beans to the mixture and blend until silky smooth and creamy. You can also mash them by hand with a ricer or fork, though it will take some time to get a smooth consistency.
  • Makes a little more than a cup of hummus.

You can make these recipes your own by adding hot salsa or lemon, chill and enjoy. They make a great after school snack, and fun to eat with pretzels, carrots, or pita chips.

Safety Tip: If the kids are helping, just be sure to use a smooth-edge or safe-cut can opener!


Riley’s Rockin’ Recipes are designed for kids to make at home with easy to find ingredients, and are brought to you by Sodexo and the MUSC Office of Health Promotion.


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Ginger Gems

Ginger Gems

Make your whole house smell like the holidays with these easy-to-make ginger gems. Sweet and spicy, just like Riley!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cups flour or gluten free flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (see note below)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For rolling: 1 cup granulated sugar

Equipment

  • Electric or hand mixer
  • Cellophane or wax paper
  • Parchment paper or a baking sheet
  • Cookie sheet
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Cooling rack
  • Microplane grater

Directions

  • Add butter, brown sugar, egg, and molasses to a mixing bowl
  • Use the mixer to blend until smooth and creamy
  • Then add all the dry ingredients (except the granulated sugar) to the bowl.
  • Starting slowly, blend into the ginger gems mixture until it is thick and no flour is seen.
  • Put a piece of cellophane or wax paper on the counter and spoon the mixture onto 1/3 of the sheet
  • Shape into a log, roll up the dough, and put it in the fridge for 45 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • Break the cold cookie dough into one-inch pieces and roll in hands until smooth.
  • Put the granulated sugar in a shallow dish and roll the cookie balls in the sugar until they are coated all over.
  • Place the balls 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet that has a piece of parchment paper or a baking sheet on it.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes. Longer makes for crispier cookies
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool for one minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Yield – Makes about 2 dozen cookies


Riley’s Rockin’ Recipes are designed for kids to make at home with easy to find ingredients, and are brought to you by Sodexo and the MUSC Office of Health Promotion.


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