How do you know when you are hungry? I have sat through many Weight Watchers Meetings listening to this discussion of the answer to that question. How do you know when you are really hungry versus something else like emotional eating, boredom or habit? Do you ever have that problem? The answers usually are things like stomach rumbling, easily agitated, its been awhile since you ate, fatigue. Try to imagine your hungriest time and how you felt. Now imagine feeling that way most of the time. How would your life change?
The High School Youth Group at my church does a 30-Hour Famine every spring. These high school students go for thirty hours without eating. They first start with a nice large breakfast and then go to school for a Friday. Then they return to the church and sleepover. On Saturday they usually do some sort of service project and then end the fast with Communion and a meal. Now you may ask yourself why a group of teenagers would go thirty hours without eating. It is to raise money for World Vision to help feed the hungry around the world.
As I was thinking about this post, I started thinking about the 30-Hour Famine. I actually just messaged one of the students who did this 30-Hour Famine all four years of her high school career (she is now in college) and was lucky enough to get one of the positions to visit a country where World Vision works to see how the money raised was helping. I first asked her for her first feelings on the 30-Hour Famine. She said, "You feel empowered, like you are making a difference in the lives of children you may never be able to reach otherwise." Then I asked her specifically about the hungry feeling. She responded, "Of course you lose focus and it makes the school day seem like ten times longer."
Next I started looking at the statistics. According to data released on September 5, 2012 by the Department of Agriculture, last year more than 16 million kids struggled with hunger in America that is equal 1 in every 5 children. (Source) Also, 62% of American teachers say they regularly see kids who come to school hungry because they are not getting enough food at home. (Source)
As a former public school teacher this statistic saddens me and scares me. I know what the lack of focus can do to a student as well as to a class. If the child is not getting fed enough, their ability is down and they will be less likely to succeed in school and thus less likely to be able to support and feed their family in the future. But what saddens me further is there is enough food for everyone in the world. Our society/world is not getting it to the people who need it. I am sure we all remember hearing about the starving people in the third world countries as children (usually Africa in my memory), but these people are starving in our country as well! We need to take care of them.
So what can we do? Well here are some ideas (many obvious):
- Donate to an organization like No Kid Hungry $1 can connect a child with 10 meals!
- Donate to a local soup kitchen/food bank with money, food, and/or time
- Cook a meal for a local soup kitchen
- Organize a food drive
- Organize a bake sale or other fundraiser
- Dine Out for No Kid Hungry September 16th - September 24th! For more information and to find participating restaurants check out here.
- If you are a member of Weight Watchers (like me) do everything to lose as much as you can for the next 12 weeks during their Lose For Good Campaign (They donate a quarter for every pound lost to Share Our Strength and Action Against Hunger.)
So join me this month in helping end hunger and in celebrating National (End) Hunger Month!