Al Roker: Every day is a blessing

Working as a TV broadcaster for more than 30 years has taught Al Roker how precious life can be.

From destructive hurricanes like Katrina to deadly tsunamis, The Today Show newsman has come across his share of horrific news footage. And now, with the recent tragedy in Japan, Roker is even more grateful. “Life can change in an instant,” he said via telephone from his home in New York. As his son played in the background, Roker talked about something close to his heart: advocating for children and families in need. On Saturday, Roker and Natalie Morales will host Child Hunger Ends Here: A Special Report, an NBC show he hopes will raise awareness about child hunger. “I think people will be surprised to learn how many children go to bed hungry at night,” he said. “It’s not just a problem in the Appalachia [region] or in the inner cities. This is something widespread.”Roker is disturbed that in America, where so many have the luxuries of eating out or dining in, kids are starving and not getting “proper nutrition.” He says, “there is no reason or excuse.” But there are ways to help. He suggests that people “volunteer at food banks or donate food to local shelters.”“Food banks desperately need our charity and help.”Roker knows the importance of staying healthy. Almost six years ago he lost more than 100 pounds with the help of gastric bypass surgery. Last year, he ran in the New York Marathon. Now he’s thinking of training for Chicago’s big race. “I haven’t decided yet. It depends on if my knees improve.”Either way, he’s content. Especially with his gig at NBC. Roker wears many hats at 30 Rockefeller Center.“The great thing about the Today Show is that they give you the opportunity to do other things.” Child Hunger Ends Here: A Special Report airs 7 p.m. Saturday on NBC. Micaela Hood