You all know that I have a passion for food.
What you may not know is that I also have a passion for feeding those who do not have access to food.
Recently I was asked to give a speech about a charity that was close to my heart in order to compete for a donation of $100.
I chose to speak about the Oregon Food Bank, a charity that helps feed the food insecure and hungry throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington.
I worked hard, I spoke eloquently and energetically. I painted a picture with words about hunger. I shared statistics about who is hungry and what that means. Nearly a quarter of the population in Oregon is classified as "food insecure" or "hungry" according to a USDA report from 2009. Oregon is one of the top 5 hungriest states in the country, also according to the USDA report. I practiced my speech thoroughly and I delivered it flawlessly.
I did not win the donation.
I came in second.
I was very disappointed.
The charity that won was very deserving, and the donation will be well-utilized. The speaker was personally involved in the charity from the time she was in grade school. She spoke eloquently and energetically. She had an edge: her personal story.
I was still disappointed. I had hoped, very much, to win that donation for the Oregon Food Bank.
According to the OFB a $100 donation will feed a family of four 75 meals.
I know that I cannot feed my family of TWO 75 meals for $100.
Today I am going to ask each of you to think about hunger, what it really means to not know where your next meal is coming from. How that feeling would impact your ability to work, think, concentrate and learn. Think about not having breakfast, or lunch or dinner and not really being sure if tomorrow will be any different. Think about having to try and "fill up" on water from the drinking fountain to alleviate some of that empty feeling in the pit of your stomach.
Just think about it.
Especially as we head into the holiday season, which for many of us is filled with the worry of overeating, and excesses of food, think about those who do not have that experience.
According to Feeding America, a non-profit organization that helps to feed the hungry throughout America, nearly 49 MILLION Americans don't know where their next meal will come from.
For a short time Feeding America will match donations made to help feed the hungry in America. Feeding America partners with food banks throughout the United States. On their website you can find your local food bank to make a donation locally, or make a donation to Feeding America directly. You can also see statistics about hunger in your own state.
I know that money is tight for many of us, me included. I know that for some of you, feeding your own family, or yourselves, may be barely within your budget. I also know that many of us spend frivolously on movie and music downloads, and other non-neccesities, like pumpkin spice lattes.
I am asking each of you: please consider making a donation, even just $5 (one latte, one week's worth of red-box movies, or a couple of downloaded songs) to YOUR local foodbank, or Feeding America. If 20 people donate just $5 we will have raised $100 to help feed the hungry. As I said before, that $100 can feed a family of four 75 meals, basically a months worth of food.
If you do choose to donate, please let me know in the comments or on Facebook. It would make my heart sing to know that I helped in some tiny way to help alleviate the hunger in America.