Do Something to help with hunger
Hunger has plagued humanity for as long as we have existed. Its complex causes make it seem insurmountable, and a common reaction is for us to block it out, because it’s just too big and too heartbreaking to solve. Hunger sits at the intersection of poverty, race, gender, and environmental catastrophes, which we must address in order to eradicate it.
Hunger leads to war, to crime, and to needless death, even among children. The trauma of hunger can last generations, compounding the problem.
Hunger is a global and local plague
Hungry people exist the world over and in our backyards. The pandemic has pushed more people into poverty globally and increased food insecurity, and climate change threatens us all.
Ignoring the hungry doesn’t make them go away. As big and scary as this problem is, we must Do Something to help.
A way to frame hunger: a structural and practical issue
With risk of oversimplifying this, but with the intention to try and bring it down to something I can better understand and therefore act, I think of hunger as a two-pronged evil, structural and practical.
- Hunger is structural, and it requires dismantling these structures. This requires scale, as it is wrapped up in multiple structural issues. How we can help:
- Lobby elected officials to address and to vote for those who support policies that will help. Examples of this include
- Support the work of organizations that address hunger through dismantling racist, sexist, and classist structures and their environmental impacts
- An example of an organization working to address these issues, if on a small scale is Sustainable Harvest International. Twenty years ago, I worked for SHI, and the founder, Florence Reed, continues to be a friend. SHI does outstanding, ground-up work in Central America to address hunger, environmental degradation, and rural poverty
- Hunger is also a practical, immediate need, that is at once global and local. This is something that I work to address through regular donations to the following organizations
- Rosie’s Place (monthly donations), which provides hot meals and groceries to unhoused women and others in Boston, as well as services to address their long-term needs
- Food for Free, which rescues food that would go to waste and channels it to people in need in Greater Boston
- World Central Kitchen, started by celebrity chef José Andrés, provides meals in the wake of disasters
Below are some practical actions you can take today and over the course of the month to help with hunger.
Do Something Actions
Call and write your elected officials
Yes, this will be a part of every month’s actions. Call and write your elected officials this month, both national and local. Here is a printable postcard you can use.
If there is specific legislation to support (here are some national bills in the US), tell them that you support it (or, if there are harmful bills, that you oppose) and that you will vote for candidates who address hunger.
Support if you can the work of organizations addressing hunger
I’ve listed some organizations I support above, but there are many, many others. I encourage you, if you can, to try to support an organization addressing the structural issues, as well as practical problems.
One note: If you are planning to volunteer, it might be good to hold off until January (or now and January?). Many people volunteer this time of year in kitchens, but really need help after the holidays.
Please include organizations you support in the comments.
Do you know someone who needs food? Give it to them or give them money to buy it. If you live somewhere where there are unhoused people and you can do so, carry food with you and offer it, or offer to buy someone a meal. I used to do this regularly, and I’m resolving to pick this up again.
If the structural issues around hunger are new to you, starting with learning about the UN Sustainable Development Goals can help you to start connecting the dots.
If you are hungry
Please contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org). I will do what I can to help you.
What are you doing to address hunger? Please let us know in the comments so that we can learn from each other.
If we work to feed those who need it now as well as work to dismantle the systems that create hunger in the first place, we may not eradicate it entirely, but we will at least Do Something to help.
Do Something is a monthly series. Check out the rest of the series, and let me know if there’s an issue we should cover here.