Sidetracked by the Face of Hunger
Hunger No More Blog
Volume No. 1, Issue No. 2
By Jared Slinde
There are times when I lack focus. There are times when I begin a project with full intentions of performing to full completion only to become sidetracked with no recollection of what I was doing in the first place. Hopefully I’m not the only one.
It happens often with college football and questions like, “when do teams begin spring practice?” It seems like forever in the event you are wondering.
The other day I became sidetracked. I was searching for a specific resource inside Feeding America’s intranet site when I came upon a section of YouTube videos. Feeding America, a nationwide network of over 200 food banks, which the Great Plains Food Bank belongs, has amazing capabilities to produce client videos that are difficult to turn off. They are extremely well done in painting a picture of the struggles with hunger.
Sidetracked turned into a full-blown obsession.
They were the stories and the faces of Feeding America and their network of food banks. While they were clients from food banks and feeding programs from across the country, their stories and faces paralleled those of the Great Plains Food Bank. I have seen the exact look in the eyes of our clients.
Last year the Great Plains Food Bank serviced 93,500 individuals, which is roughly one in nine individuals in our area. Thirty-six percent of those were children and 11 percent seniors. And the saddest part is the thousands in need that weren’t able to get it.
The faces in these Feeding America videos are the faces of those 93,500. Perhaps ashamed or reluctant to first seek help, no conscience decision was ever made to first be in the situation of needing food assistance. Each person seeking food assistance has a story and no two stories are the same.
They are stories of retired veterans with disabilities or injuries that prevents them from working full-time and need just a little help to make it through each month.
They are stories of a single mother fleeing an abusive relationship with four kids and is not able to work due to back issues. She turns to her local food pantry for help.
They are stories of a single father working security until 1 a.m. only to return home to get less than three hours of sleep before it’s time again to get the kids ready.
There are many more, but I won’t spoil any endings when you find yourself sidetracked on Feeding America’s YouTube page.
As a matter of fact, I will spoil the ending.
Life can be incredibly difficult filled with unforeseen struggles and mounting bills and the eventual need for just a little bit of help. Each day millions throughout the United States make difficult decisions of whether to pay for their medication or provide themselves a meal that night. Many parents bear the pain of skipping a meal because the pain of having to watch their kids go without would be much greater.
Each one of these stories end with each person’s local food bank or food pantry providing the assistance they need. This is why Feeding America and the Great Plains Food Bank are here.
If you are in need of food assistance and are struggling to admit that you need help, remember that Feeding America helps 46 million people each year with food assistance. If you study the faces in any Feeding America videos, you might see a familiar look.
And if knowing there are so many struggling with hunger every day, there are plenty of ways that you can help. For each single charitable dollar given to the Great Plains Food Bank, we are able to supply four meals to someone in need.
Feel like getting sidetracked today? The link and screen below just might do it.
(Jared Slinde serves as communication manager with the Great Plains Food Bank).