Are you hungry right now? Have you ever been hungry? Do you even know what it feels like to be hungry? We should all be answering yes to at least the last two questions, since we most certainly have all felt the growl of an “empty” stomach at some point in our lives. However, do you know what it really feels like to be truly hungry; to not know when, where, or even if you will see your next meal? Let’s take a quick look at hunger in Hays County, and see if we can get a better understanding of it in our own community.
When I say “the hungry,” what do you picture? I know previously if I had been asked that question I probably would have painted a picture of a small, emaciated child in the heart of Africa who has had no food in a week and can barely walk. Big hungry eyes, every rib bone visible, wasting away to nearly nothing. I can’t be the only one. It’s what we see on TV, over and over again about how to support some feeding the world organization. But if you look in our own county, hunger doesn’t always look like that. Hunger is more dimensional than that.
Have you ever walked by someone at the grocery store and noticed what they have in their basket? Is it mostly fresh fruits and vegetables? Or is it mostly processed foods that essentially just need to be warmed up to resemble food? Which is cheaper? Which do you buy? The only reason I ask, is that for the most part, more people buy the processed items than the fresh because it tends to be less expensive and easier to fix. This is what hunger in Hays County looks like.
Did you know that there is an alarming rate of diabetic and overweight people who are food insecure? No wonder with how cheap a bag of donuts is compared to a healthy bag of raw almonds. You may get full off a bag of donuts, but it’s a fake kind of full. Your belly is stuffed, yet your body got no nutrients and a whole mess of sugar. Once your body breaks all that down, you’ll be sluggish and tired, and your body will still be craving food. It wants nutritious options, but those can be pricier and those donuts are way too cheap to pass up.
The moral here is, hunger in Hays County doesn’t really have “the look” of hunger (or at least what most people consider that to be). They look like you and me. The only difference is, they are going to distributions, or shopping with their SNAP card (choosing how best to stretch the most out of their allowance a month on food for their family). We are working on getting our Hays County residents who rely on us healthier options, but we need everyone’s help. Start a garden and donate a small portion. Purchase your meat/produce at the Farmer’s Market and donate a little bit of what you got. It doesn’t take much if we all help each other out.
We want to eradicate hunger in Hays County, by helping those we serve make healthy and nutritious choices on a very strict budget. Will you help us?
September is Hunger Action Month and we would like to challenge you to take action to help us end hunger in Hays County.