This past week, our 20-month-old came down with a "stomach bug"...24 hours (almost to the hour) of throwing up - and she still managed to keep a smile. She'd get this look of terror in her eyes when she was throwing up, as if to say, "Why is this happening to me?"
The day after she got better, I got sick. I'm actually sitting on the couch now, wrapped in a blanket, while Tim serves me sprite and saltines (all while singlehandedly managing everything else - laundry, kids, dinner, etc.). I married a champ (for real).
All of this made me think about hunger worldwide. When my baby was sick, my focus was completely on her. Everything faded away (everything) and I knew I would spare no expense to have her well again. Similarly, now that I am ill, I am obsessed with getting my body back in working order. I am consumed by my rumbling tummy and the thumping in my head.
Earlier today, Tim was trying to have a conversation with me about family and forgiveness and what it means to live in community. I was barely tracking, holding my Ziploc barf bag and trying to distract my body from its ailments.
"This is what it must be to live with hunger," I said to Tim - my mind shrouded by a fog, my body begging for mercy.
I recently read that 1 in 4 children struggles with hunger in the United States. That is so not okay with me. And the answer isn't more government programs. It's you and me - caring.
Maybe you don't personally know anyone who lives without food (maybe I don't either - that's a problem to me). We still need to do something - a few ideas that comes to mind: Donate to a food bank. Invite a family or an elderly person with a lower-income to your house for dinner (and send home leftovers).
(You know I'm writing to myself more than anything, right?).
Do you personally know anyone who is suffering from hunger (or did you experience a lack of food as a child)? What are you personally doing to combat hunger in our country and worldwide?
So sorry to hear you were sick!
This post really tugged at my heart and I love the way you say, "It's you and me caring." So true. When I think of the moms around the world who have to sit by and watch their children starve, it literally makes me sob. (tears in my eyes as I type this)
You have a beautiful heart. Thank you for bringing awareness to this issue and for making me stop and think about how I can be more proactive in helping others who are hungry...
A dear friend recently told me about a paper she wrote for her English class in college. The topic was 'when did you know you were different?' In her paper she told the story of walking to high school with me in the mornings. One day she got to my house early and we were still eating breakfast. My mom offered her some, and she quickly said that she had already eaten. But she hadn't. They didn't have any food in their house. Up until that day, she thought that was normal.
I never knew. Never! And I was at their house a lot.
It's entirely possible/probable that we all know someone who is hungry.
That story breaks my heart, Melinda.
I agree w/ your last sentence. We probably all know someone who is struggling to buy food for their family.
I've been mulling the comments from this post around in my mind the past few days, wondering...how can we find the people in our neighborhoods/communities who are without? How can we then make a lasting difference? I think perhaps it begins by simply paying attention more. [That's something I've been working on].
Hi friend! I am so sorry that you all were hit by that nasty bug! Pretty sure it wasn't us because we all had it about 3 weeks ago & it was ugly. One of us had it each day for four days (a blessing that only one at a time, right?) I thought it was food poisoning until I heard word of it in the community. Rest up.
Re: hunger- I am not aware of anyone I know that is battling hunger (although I am sure they are & I just don't know it). I did not experience lack of food as a child, although looking back I am pretty sure that my divorced mom went without sometimes so that we could have... Because of this, I often think of my divorced or single mom friends and try to find ways to help them out. I think they are probably an "at- risk" group often trying to maintain appearances.
Incidentally, when my babies had the bug a few weeks ago, I found myself contemplating the horrific knowlege that many children worldwide die from dehydration often due to lack of clean water, sanitation, & basic medical care. It breaks my PICU RN heart that so many kids could be saved simply by good oral rehydration or IV fluids.
Thanks for the reminder.
L had it. Then, I had. Now, Tim has it. Each of us improved before the next one got it. (For that, I am very grateful). I hope with all my heart that we'll all be well tomorrow.
Thanks for the reminder to be intentional about caring for divorced and single parents.
There was a time when our family was between jobs and was really struggling. Someone gave us their food storage. It was humbling and life sustaining in one. It made me more aware of hungry people. I generally shop with a list of item I need to meals I have planned. But every few months I try to clean out the pantry of good food that i just haven't used. (never got around to making those sloppy joes or lasagna) And I take them to our local library which always has a bin for the food pantry.
Thanks for sharing your story, Holly. Just curious: did you tell the family who gave you the food storage that you were struggling...or did they just "happen" to ask if you wanted/needed it?
The comments on this post have really made me think that I probably DO know lots of people who are struggling to put food on the table...but it's not always obvious. I know I need to watch for needs more carefully. One way I plan to start doing that is to ***really*** listen to the answer when I ask questions like "How are you?"
We had mentioned that things were tight but had not asked for help specifically. When they originally offered it, I wanted to do a knee-jerk answer of "no thanks we are fine". but I knew we really could use the help.
Good to know. I want to be more tuned in when friends say that they are "in a tight spot" or "having tough times" or things like that. Then, I can respond with an anonymous gift, a friendly dinner invitation, or another similar gesture.
I try to promote charities that are battling hunger and always give to our church's food bank. Here's a program from Hellman's supporting Share Our Strength. For every "sandwich" made they give $5. I'm not getting paid to promote this--just think it is a great program:
My friend works for Share Our Strength. It's an amazing program! She teaches nutrition education to low-income families and at schools. They're always looking for volunteers...
Oh, Stephanie! The stomach virus just went through our house too. Everyone got it except our 19mo. But I'm just waiting for her to get it too. I hope you start to feel better soon.
And in response to your hunger thoughts...my great aunt has a foundation in which they copy the business model of Let's Dish (or similar companies). They invite families of a low-income communities to a local church. They provide all the ingredients and they teach the families who to assemble and cook healthy meals. They then help them assemble and freeze dishes for five night's worth of dinner. I love this because it's like the "teach a person to fish" philosophy. And it's so much more rewarding to see and meet the faces rather than writing out a check or dropping off boxes and cans at a foodshelp. Of course, that is certainly a noble service as well.
What a phenomenal idea, Jenny! Can you tell me the name of your great aunt's foundation? I'd love to know more about it...maybe we'd even be able to come see the program in action sometime in the upcoming year?
We live in Nepal and the poor surround us. But just like in the states it's easy to get into a routine and forget them, until you have to make the decision to either walk past the deformed boy begging on the street (this happened to me two days ago), give him some cash or.... or what? What on earth can one do? It's easy to theorize, but in the moment it's tough.
My husband and I got tired of throwing some cash their way or having to walk past. This Christmas we've connected with a ministry around the corner from our house that rescues women who have been or are at risk of being trafficked (usually into sexual exploitation). They also minister to street kids and kids who live in the slums. It will take $1000 to give these women and children (about 60-80 in each group) a good meal and a small gift of gloves or a hat for the winter months and to share the Gospel with them. We can't do it alone, but we're connecting with everyone we know to try and make this happen. Last year this ministry could only afford tea for their Christmas program. If you knew how inexpensive food is here, you would understand how absurd that is. We're not sure how it's going to happen, but we know that God provides.
Kudos to you for your noble efforts to help the poor, Megan. You inspire me.
I remember the first time my little one got sick...I remember the look on his face not understanding what was happening. So sad that 1 in 4 are hungry, my heart goes out to them. It's very likely you know people who are hungry, you just don't know how badly they are in need.
Thank you for that reminder, Amy. There are people with needs EVERYWHERE. It's easy to "close our eyes" to the realities of pain/poverty...but I'm sure if we took the time to intentionally see, we'd find many people to extend our homes + hearts to.
P.S. Your comment reminded me a little of "The Pursuit of Happyness," starring Will Smith. Have you seen it?
I'll admit that hunger is something I try to not think about, because it makes me so, so sad.
We have some family members and friends who are in need this season, and I think we'll direct our efforts towards them :)
Thanks for this challenge!
I don't think I know people going hungry. But, I do know people struggling. And, I know there are plenty of people around me, whom I don't know personally, who are hungry.
We used to serve food down at the homeless shelter. But, it gets hard with a bunch a of little ones, to keep doing that regularly. I would like to know some of my poorer neighbors personally, to do stuff directly for them, instead of just through the food bank.
I need lots of pushing. Thanks.
I am the same way, Erin (re: needing lots of pushing). I'd love to find a few families to help who live right around us...sometimes the needs end up being right under our noses.