We met Tray at our Little Rock Dream Center a few years back. He was well mannered; did ok in school; and loved basketball, football, & everything else sports.
So when we got a message to be praying for Tray we were all in shock. He was being rushed to the ER because his heart was racing and he was having problems breathing. Tray wasn’t home but a few hours and he was headed back to the hospital. This time they found the problem and it changed the way we should all look at hunger.
Tray’s blood test revealed he was suffering from malnutrition. Malnutrition is a an issue we think of for children in other countries, so how could this young boy growing up in Arkansas be suffering from malnutrition?
- His body was deficient of many of the vitamins it needed to grow.
- His body was eating muscle mass due to a lack of protein.
- When asked to describe his diet, Tray listed soda’s, hot chips, ramen noodles, mac & cheese. His diet consisted almost purely of carbohydrates and sugars.
- Tray was indeed malnourished.
When we see statistics which tell us that 1 in 5 children in Arkansas face food insecurity we often times associate visions of empty cupboards in our heads. The truth is that hunger goes much deeper. When children depend upon free school meals for the majority of their nutrition, what happens when school is out?
For many they depend upon cheap and simple high carbohydrate foods. Foods, which are only a band-aid to the underlying problem. Many of us look at the government for a solution.
Children like Tray receive all these benefits. Unfortunately children like Tray are ill-equipped or completely unable to shop for their own food.
According to pediatricians, malnutrition in the first few years of life can lead to:
- being antisocial
- aggressive behavior
- lack of focus in school
Last summer, Dream Makers just like you were able to provide over 79,000 delicious and nutritious meals to children just like Tray. In addition you aren’t just handing meals to children, you make it possible for the staff to sit down with those children. They are encourage them to eat their meals; the children get to play games, and most importantly they get something else they crave. LOVE!
The joy on a child’s face when they receive whole fruit is indescribable. A real banana, a real apple, or a real orange are foreign objects. To make it even better to have a child ask you to open their orange for them because they do not know how.
It is hard to put a true value on what your investments have made possible. But in Tray’s life we want to tell you that not only is Tray getting the food he needs to be healthy, but also this past season he was a star player on his schools championship basketball team.
To Tray and his family, getting the foods he needs are priceless!
We want to ask you to consider investing in children just like Tray. We are taking food into communities where children like Tray live, where no one else is serving. Neighborhoods where children just like Tray continue to struggle.
We are asking for you to partner with us to make a difference in the lives of Tray and many other children across Arkansas!