Speaker 1 00:00:16 Hi, everyone. Welcome back to just bite. September is hunger action month a month to drive awareness about and encourage supporters to take action against hunger. But why do we need a hunger action month? And what can each of us do to be a meaningful part of efforts to end hunger? Your just bite cohost joy brings you this thought provoking oral essay to give listeners something to chew on. As we kick off this month of awareness and action,
Speaker 2 00:00:55 How do you take action against hunger? How do you take action against an often unseen unnoticed adversary, one that lurks quietly in bare pantries and sparsely filled refrigerators. One that feels personal lonely isolating one that we'd prefer to pretend doesn't exist at all. How do you take action against hunger? How do you take action against an enemy that drives discord that conceals itself by perpetuating stereotypes and misunderstandings? How do you take action against an opponent that would have others? Believe it is attributable to a personality flaw. One that travels along with feelings of shame that robs its victims of their dignity, that hides in plain sight. How do you take action against hunger? First? You talk about it. You make it so that hunger cannot live in the realm of whispers or rumors. You bring it out into the light of day by talking about it so that it can be seen for what it is.
Speaker 2 00:02:08 It is unfair. It does not discriminate. It exists in every community and it impacts all of us whether directly or indirectly. It is the fear a parent feels as they wait for next week's paycheck to come and watch their children use up the last of the milk on the last of the cereal. It is the lack of focus gnawing away at the student in the second row, who can't seem to make sense of the exam in front of them while their brain is running on fumes. It is the shame felt by the widower who doesn't like to be a burden who waits to eat until it's time to take their pills. Who wonders? Why a life of hard work left them here. It is the panic in a mother's throat. When she finds another shelf of infant formula empty. After spending an hour on a different bus route to get to the store across town, it is the weariness.
Speaker 2 00:03:10 A worker feels as they leave one job to go to the next and wonder if their wages will stretch to cover the car insurance and the copay for their medicine. It is the resignation. A young child learns early on to take what is offered and to eat when they have their chance, but maybe a little less than they would like. So there's some left for dad when he gets home. It is the shock a grandmother has as she shops at her neighborhood store and trades items in her cart to stay in budget, wishing her social security stretched further wishing prices. Weren't so high wishing she could afford the food she used to buy for the grandkids. She is raising. It is the uncertainty. A new homeowner feels when they've just been laid off and don't have enough save to pay their mortgage and buy their groceries.
Speaker 2 00:04:06 It is the exhaustion felt by the neighbors that have seen industry and amenities leave their community and full service. Grocery stores leave too. As they work out, ride shares and babysitting groups to find the food they need. It is the hopelessness that a diabetes patient feels as they look over their bills and know that once again, they'll have to choose between their insulin or the healthy food they need. It is the anxiety a person with a disability might have when trying to work through complex application processes to keep their snap benefits, knowing that without them, their cupboard would be even more bare, knowing that they're still not enough hunger doesn't happen on its own. It might be happening right alongside homelessness or housing and security. It might look like limiting the fresh foods or home cooked meals you eat, because even if you could afford the food or get some help at a food pantry, your couch surfing, just stay off the streets and you don't want to get in the way in the kitchen.
Speaker 2 00:05:18 It might be happening in the halls of a hospital where families often have to struggle with the worry for an injured or ill loved one, alongside the worry of how they will pay their bills and put food on the table. It might happen as an ex-offender applies for job after job to try to get back on their feet. But can't find a felon friendly employer and meanwhile loses their food assistance just a few months after leaving prison, it might happen just as a victim of a domestic violence situation is trying to protect her family and get on solid, safe footing. Working through enrolling her kids in a new school, saving enough for first and last month's rent. And somehow keeping them fed. It might happen after someone leaves a funeral home without their spouse of 35 years or after someone has to exit their undergraduate program with three years of student loan debt so that they can care for their terminally ill parent or after someone in addiction.
Speaker 2 00:06:29 Recovery loses access to transitional housing. It often happens in times of personal crisis, like a flat tire, a leaking roof, a stolen identity, a prolonged illness or unreliable access to childcare to get to work and earn enough to keep hunger at bay. For another day. Hunger too often happens to older adults who find themselves in what should be their golden years struggling to make fixed limited retirement income, cover their expenses. And too often as their access to healthy food is sacrificed to keep their home cooled and to buy the medicines they need. And yes, it might happen more frequently to more people in times of local state national or global distress. It happens surely alongside natural disasters when homes are flooded or electricity grids fail. It happens during pandemics, during recessions, during warfare and during historic rates of inflation and supply chain pressure, hunger happens more easily because it has woven itself into the fabric of a society with greater and greater wage and wealth disparity where a few people in corporations have an outsized share of an outsized control over the resources on which we all rely.
Speaker 2 00:08:02 So how do you take action against hunger? You keep talking about it with whoever will listen. You talk with elected officials and government leaders. You talk with companies and corporate officials. You talk with funders and philanthropists. You talk with community leaders and activists. You talk with kids and teachers. You talk with clergy and church groups. You talk with farmers and grocers. Maybe most importantly, you talk about it with family, friends, and colleagues, and meanwhile, you look for ways to help. You might help take action against hunger by volunteering. Maybe you stock shelves or fill bags at the food pantry at your temple. Maybe you organize volunteer groups for a committee at work. Maybe you come to the food bank once a month to pack boxes of food for seniors or direct traffic at the drive through food distributions, they host nearby. Maybe you even want to volunteer in a more ongoing capacity, like by completing a term of national service through AmeriCorps, or by joining the board of a local hunger relief nonprofit, you might help take action against hunger by donating.
Speaker 2 00:09:21 Maybe you have some extra to give each month and you can set up a recurring donation to help your regional food bank or local food pantry plan for fixed expenses like fuel for their trucks and food for their customers. Maybe you can donate your talents to raise funds for an anti-hunger organization like hosting a bake sale running or riding in a race, playing in a charity concert or lending your social media influencer profile to the cause. Maybe you are thinking about what you want to leave behind for your community. And you want to talk with your local food bank about establishing a legacy gift. Maybe you just feel called today. Listening to this episode, to make a one time gift to make your mark this hunger action month. You might help take action against hunger by lending your voice. Yes. Talk about hunger and the damage it does with anyone who will listen, spur local solutions by building bridges within communities who knows your local work might spur regional state or national models or influence changes to larger policy.
Speaker 2 00:10:37 Your letter to the editor of your local newspaper might spur other readers to take action. Your call to an elected official urging funding for food banks may be the one that tips the scales, your personal experience with hunger may be the story that resonates with people in power, who can make investments that finally stop hunger in its tracks. How do you take action against hunger by adding what you have to give by making a ripple, no matter how big or small by firmly establishing hunger as the enemy and not the people it impacts by unabashedly believing that every person deserves the dignity of having consistent access to the food. They need to thrive by thwarting food insecurity with a fervent commitment to ending it by countering hunger, with hope. Thank you for taking action. By the way, you can also take action against hunger by wearing orange on hunger action day, which takes place this year on September 23rd, share your orange selfie with hashtag hunger action month and tag us at Ohio food banks. Making the problem of hunger visible is the first and most necessary step to ending hunger. Thanks for being part of hunger action month. We'll talk to you next time.