Why Hunger in 2018?
As a leader of a hunger organization, the question of “why hunger?” challenges me daily. Access to food, healthy food, should be unquestioned. There is just no reason for people to be hungry. There is enough food produced to feed us all. Couple that with the fact that we waste millions of pounds of food yearly and it becomes even more disturbing that hunger exists.
Hunger and poverty are a part of millions of our fellow citizen’s lives. The litany of issues that coexist with hunger exasperates even the most dedicated hunger organizations. It is understandable that many of us seek to provide food pantries for our neighbors. We see the need and create a simple solution: give them free food. First, that assumes there is a “them” and an “us”. Secondly, it assumes that free food is the only answer. In my experience in nonprofit work, once we begin to see the person as other than…as them, we are in trouble. A true community is only strong when equality and justice are societal norms. When we know fundamentally that each of us has gifts, strengths and value that is when real community is possible. When I peel back the labels and judgement, I begin to ask the right questions - Why can people not afford healthy food? How do we make healthy food available to all of our community members? What must happen to make the food systems in my country, my community more just and available?
These are the big questions that keep me up at night. I do not have the answers. But I have no doubt if I do not ponder the question, there will be no answers.
- Deb Anthony I Executive Director of Gather
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” Rainer Maria Rilke