Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Face of Hunger

So today is Earth Day and in honor of that, I am starting my week-long commitment to a cause that covers not only the Earth, but more specifically, each of our home towns. I was absolutely humbled when I was asked last week to take part in a joint Austin Food Bank/Austin Food Blogger project. Mission impossible? Not quite.

Our introduction to the project officially took place last night, where I met with a group of new (to me) and amazing people here in Austin at our local food bank. We toured the facility and learned more about how our local food banks support the community. We learned about "the face of hunger" and that each one has their own personal story. We got a hands-on at the programs that supply food pantries all around town from this warehouse. We walked through the organic gardens set up on the premises that are used to educate future supporters in starting their own gardens to help provide fresh produce. I, like the rest of my fellow bloggers, was humbled by the statistics of hunger, the effects it has on our nation, and the simple-yet-effective ways that we can all help out.

The project that we have agreed to take on - in a nut shell - is this: Take a typical list of what a client would receive from the food bank and cook with it for a week.In our case, the list was derived from what was available at the Pflugerville pantry on a specific day last week. Along with this bag of groceries, we can buy additional items based on the few extra dollars that would come in the form of a Lone Star Card from SNAP (the Texas food stamp program) and/or if you qualify for WIC. We were each told to go about this as our own personal journey so that we would have many unique perspectives to share with our readers.

So I've initially chosen to go about this as if my husband (the main bread winner) were to have lost his job and we were depending on my part time job to make ends meet. Here is the interesting part to me - more than half of the clients at these pantries fall into this category. So how will it feel to have a job, insurance, a car and a roof over our head, but possibly not enough food at the end of the day to sit down with our family to a good meal? That's a good question and what I'm about to find out. Follow me and other Austin bloggers as we journal our perspectives on the face of hunger and try to uncover ways to bring more awareness to your table. Maybe then, we can all find a way to change the face of hunger. I'm jus' sayin'!

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