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Understanding Hunger | Elyssa Koidin

17 Apr Posted by HungerFast.org in Tony Hall's Blog | Comments Off
Understanding Hunger | Elyssa Koidin
 

Even though I have worked closely on the issues of poverty and hunger for the past eight years, I have been blessed to never have had to know these struggles personally. I understand the impact of policy on programs. But the reality of how the programs impact people’s lives is rather foreign to me. Starting last week, I, along with seven other employees of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs have given up a meal a day for the two weeks leading up to Passover in solidarity with Ambassador Tony Hall’s water-only fast as part of www.hungerfast.org. I am lucky to have grown-up in a household where food was never an issue. But this exercise has allowed me to get a small glimpse in to what it must be like to suffer from hunger in America. Clearly no fast, no matter how long, will ever allow me to truly understand the full nature of hunger, but each time I gave up a meal I was able to take time out of my day to think of those who are suffering, and plan ways that the faith community and our elected officials can make pro-active changes to better the lives for those of which skipping a meal isn’t an exercise. When I skipped breakfast I thought of the elementary school student who has to go to school on an empty stomach and struggle to pay attention to the information her teacher is providing because she is feeling sluggish and hungry. When I skipped lunch I thought of the working mother who is trying to make it through the day, battling through the fact that she is undernourished and is struggling to make ends meet. And each night I went to bed with an empty stomach, I thought of the grandmother who has sacrificed her dinner, so her grandchildren could eat. A rumbling stomach, a foggy mind, and low-blood sugar were only passing feelings for me. But for millions of Americans, they are an everyday occurrence. This week, as Passover approaches, the JCPA will be holding the National Hunger Seder in Washington, D.C. We will retell the story of Passover, by discussing the modern day slavery in America: hunger. The

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words of our hagaddah will ring much more true for me this year, knowing the crisis many anti-hunger programs are facing in Congress, and having a clearer view of the effect such programs can have on ordinary citizens suffering from food insecurity.  

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