By Andrea Sherwood
Growing up on a farm and living most of my life in Iowa amongst proud people, I still find myself in awe of hunger in America. I have been involved in this hunger fight on American soil for a short 2.5 years. Prior to this “hometown fight” my involvement was with world hunger. I was completely unaware of the severe hunger problem we have here in America. This problem is in the communities where we live, work and play. Was I blind, uninformed, and unaware? Yes. Was I uninterested, uncaring, and unwilling to join the fight? No. Once, aware of this problem it has become a passion of mine both in my work life and personal life.
Why was I unaware? Why didn’t I see this hunger? I don’t ever want this to happen with another issue again! After some lengthy pondering I think I may have part of the answer.
I grew up in the heartland of Grundy County, Iowa, in a community where people are proud, generous, helpful, and welcoming. People are also stoic with emotions and troubles. At the same time, they are always giving.
You see, being proud is not about being boastful, arrogant, uncaring or greedy. Proud people try to take care of troubles and business while putting up the front that all is well. We would much rather give than even think of receiving.
In communities like this, what happens if people let those fronts down or ask for help? People get more than what was imagined when living among proud people. Why is this? It is because neighbors are also proud. They too want to help.
So, I believe that hunger is hard to see in America because it goes beyond the stereotypes of the pictures we see in the media and across the world. Does it mean that hunger is any less of an issue here in America? No, absolutely not. It means we are proud, we don’t want to ask for help, we don’t want to need help. It is much easier to give than receive.
In the coming weeks, I will share stories of inspiration from the past two-and-a-half years of working to end hunger in the community where we live, work and play. You will see real life examples of the proud people who have joined me in this fight to end hunger in our community! Now that I am aware, I see it everywhere. I want to help increase awareness because my experience tells me that once aware, action is taken! I believe that together we can end hunger!
Please comment about how you became aware of this issue of hunger in America or what got you involved in this hometown fight? Who or what has inspired you to be involved?