What does hunger look like in your community? Probably not what you think. If you think you will be able to tell who is dealing with hunger issues just by looking at them, you might be surprised. The people who are worried about where their next meal is going to come from look just like me and just like you. In fact, they might live in a house on your block.
A few months ago, Josh and I had the opportunity to donate food to our local food bank and it was an eye opening experience for both of us. I spent some time looking around for a place to accept our donation and it was harder than I thought it would be. I first called the food pantry that we had always donated to in the past and learned two things: 1) they were not equipped to accept anything except nonperishable foods and 2) they are only open one day a month and only for very specific hours.
These facts disturbed me for a few reasons. First, I think it is pretty challenging to eat well balanced, healthy meals using only nonperishable foods. Healthy fruits, vegetables and meats are expensive and I couldn’t help but wonder if the people visiting the food bank would be buying them on their own. Second, having such limited hours makes it really hard for people to get the food they might need (never mind donate it!). What if a person has the chance for a job interview during the few hours the food bank is open – do they have to decide between getting food for the month OR possible employment? It just doesn’t seem right.
Since we had a trunk full of fresh chicken, that food pantry wasn’t an option anyways. We found the Menomonee Falls Area Food Pantry and loved what we saw. Not only do they accept donations 24/7 but they also have several windows where people can stop in and pick up food. They have both afternoon and evening hours, so they offer access to food no matter what your schedule. Plus, they have coolers and were thrilled to receive our chicken donation.
Josh commented that the people “shopping” there looked just like everyone else. I don’t know if he thought he would see people who looked more like the homeless people we have seen living on the streets or that they would just look “different”, but he was struck by the fact that these were people just like us. And I think that is a powerful observation.
Feeding America is an organization dedicated to making sure that no one goes without the food they need by making sure that the pantries like the one we visited have plenty of food to give out. Walmart has joined the fight against hunger and is partnering with Feeding America. From September 15 through October 5, customers can visit www.walmart.com/fighthunger to cast one vote per day that will help direct grants to participating Feeding America food banks and local partner agencies across the country. The 50 winning food banks will each receive a $60,000 grant. The campaign also provides information on how customers can donate or volunteer to take a direct action in the fight against hunger in their local communities.
To participate in the voting campaign, learn more about the program, including details on participating products, visit www.walmart.com/fighthunger.
You can get involved by voting for your local food bank AND by participating in the #Vote2FightHunger Twitter Party on September 30th. RSVP and learn more here.
This post was brought to you in partnership with TheMotherhood.com. All opinions are my own.