September 30, 2011

Hunger - Numbers Talk, Actions Speak Louder

Donations sorted by volunteers, ready to be bagged
Think you know what hunger in the United States looks like? Take the Feeding America quiz and see. You may be surprised both at the scale of the issue (50 million Americans without enough food) and by how much the face in the mirror looks like the average food bank user.

I thought I had a pretty good picture of the situation until I volunteered at my local food bank, Second Harvest. It serves roughly 247,000 of my neighbors every single month. Most have housing, which costs more in Silicon Valley than most parts of the country. Most also have jobs, which don't necessarily pay more to keep up with the cost of living here.

Of all the numbers I heard, though, one figure changed how I see my role. I had always thought that picking up a few extra items at the store and donating them was a fun, hands-on way to pitch in. Now that I know that the food bank can obtain five times as much food with a dollar as I can, I'm going to be writing checks, instead. For the satisfaction of hands-on participation, there's always showing up at the warehouse and sorting or bagging donations. That only costs a few hours of my time, and I can see the difference I've made right away. Also, it reminds me why I write that check.

1 comment:

Ryan Young (Feeding America) said...

Thank you for mentioning Feeding America in your post. Thank you for the support!

- Ryan Young (