Last Updated Feb 15, 2010 1:53 PM EST
That epiphany started a family project to sell the house -- which has three Viking stoves in the kitchen alone -- and downsize into something smaller, with half the proceeds going to a family-picked charity, The Hunger Project.
Now the Salwens have a new book, "The Power of Half," which talks about their remarkable act of giving several hundred thousand dollars to charity.
The parents are professionals, with Joan a twenty-year veteran of Accenture and Kevin having been a writer at The Wall Street Journal. To me, the most interesting part of the story is that they had already been involved in charity work, with Kevin Salwen on the board of Atlanta Habitat for Humanity and Joan Salwen a Big Brothers/Big Sisters mentor. However, they made the decision that that wasn't enough.
Since it's the kids themselves that were the agents of change, I invite you to watch "Hannah's Lunchbox," a video by her teenage brother Joseph.