To sympathize with America’s hungry, I decided to fast the five days until my show Philmchology w/Brenda B: “A Place At The Table” airs this thursday May 22nd at 6PM PDT. I hemmed and hawed on this because there’s food in the fridge, which I don’t want to ruin before I have a chance to eat it, (I don’t like to waste food especially knowing people are so hungry or starving elsewhere). I thought maybe I’ll start on Monday instead, which would mean eating more than I normally would to make sure the food wasn’t wasted (ridiculous, I know, because it would still be wasted!). Then I thought I could just do it on the day of the show, but let’s face it one day is not going make me feel the hunger that people who often don’t know where their next meal will come from.
You can follow my journey here: 5 Day Fast for A Place At The Table
The reality is this: Food is in my cupboards, pantry, fridge, two freezers and even in jars in my living room–candy for those times I just want a bit of a nosh or something sweet. People who are starving or hungry don’t have jars of goodies near for when they feel like a little nosh of something; they’re simply hungry!
Now I cannot profess to being above the poverty line; financially my zero income, as a graduate student, actually puts me well below it. I have back up that isn’t specifically from a charity. I have student loans yes, which means I’ve borrowed heavily against my future income and that means I often eat from the resources I’ll make in the next 5 years (hopefully!).
The bottom line is this: Hunger is a real thing and not because the resources aren’t out there. Maybe you have been extremely hungry or dealt with not knowing if you’ll have dinner or not, you might relate to something in this movie. Maybe you have been blessed never to feel that. I remember the time we had no food as a child. We were waiting for something to be cooked for dinner and there was nothing. Dinner time came and went and finally my brother (David) quietly asked our mom what we were to do about dinner (she was working on something at a desk in our dining room with her back turned to us) She said “Maybe it’s time you go without dinner for a change!” She never turned to face us. I know now she couldn’t face the fact she had no food to feed us. I wondered why she didn’t drive us over to our great grandmother’s house or our grandmother’s house or any other number of family members who would have food.
Back then I decided she was a mean evil person and the worst mom ever. I was 8 years old and didn’t understand the shame and guilt she must have wrestled with or that she probably did not have gas or bus money to get us to our family members. We had a large faction of the Southern based family in Seattle and welfare wasn’t something they engaged in; the family took care of their own, if they knew about the problems. We went to bed hungry that night and I remember crying and feeling panicky about the next day. Hunger leads to stress and all manner of behaviors as people start to feel desperate. We were lucky, we had our big Southern family. The next day One of them brought us food to eat. Why isn’t America doing the same with their family? Why would any American child go hungry to fuel wars and take care of countries that hate and don’t want our presence among them. Would America have fed me back then? Maybe the children of America aren’t considered family. I wonder what America would do if suddenly all our children disappeared overnight, then would we commit to taking better care of them when it was too late?