As a child growing up in a small town outside of Mumbai, India, Gayatri Choudhari has vivid memories of the stark poverty that left many people working very hard to secure one meal a day.
“When you see those things, it makes you feel that if you can give back, you should,” said Gayatri, an Information Technology Project Manager in Houston.
Gayatri wanted to make sure her 9-year-old daughter Myra understood that some people struggle to find their next meal, and about the importance of giving back. So last March, during her daughter’s spring break vacation, Gayatri brought Myra along to pack hundreds of meals as part of the Kids’ Meals program event organized by AIG.
“I have a passion for helping out and I want to instill that in my daughter,” Gayatri said. “Instead of talking about it, I thought it would be good to take her along and show her, and make her realize that not everything is easy.”
The goal of the Kids’ Meal program is to end childhood hunger by delivering close to 3,000 free, healthy meals each weekday to preschool-aged children living in extreme poverty. In Houston, about 89,000 children, or one-in-four preschoolers, aren’t assured their next meal, according to the Houston-based group. This can lead to poor performance in school, increased school absences and behavioral issues.
During the AIG event, Gayatri and Myra packed sandwiches, juice, milk and fruit for about three hours alongside four or five AIG colleagues at each table.
“She was pretty shocked that there are kids who don’t have meals at home, and that someone outside of their family has to provide it for them,” Gayatri said of her daughter. “She didn’t realize that there are kids out there who may starve some days if they don’t get meals through such volunteer programs.”
Gayatri said she hopes the experience taught her daughter a lesson in gratitude, kindness and helping those in need. She plans to participate in future events.
“I’ve been with AIG for two years and there’s always a way to give back if you want to,” Gayatri said.
This project is supported by AIG’s volunteer programme.Find out more