A Semester’s Reflection
It has been my experience that many college students are blissfully unaware of the poor and hungry people living in their hometowns. Many of these students are shocked and horrified to learn that millions of Americans live below the poverty line.
I, however, have always been aware of the prevalence of poverty in the suburban neighborhood just outside of Washington, D.C., where I grew up. As a child, I knew people who faced hunger on a daily basis. I witnessed firsthand some of my neighbors visiting food pantries and relying completely on the generosity of others to make ends meet. Although I did not realize it until I was somewhat older, whenever my mother and I went to the local supermarket, many of our neighbors were purchasing their groceries using SNAP benefits.
After years of this exposure, I thought hunger was just another unavoidable social issue. Some people would go hungry, and there was not much anyone could really do to change that. I believed that if anybody truly cared about the parents who lived on my street who were skipping meals in order to give their children enough to eat, they would have done something by now. So, I gave money to charity, donated food during Thanksgiving food drives, and made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a local food bank all throughout high school. But, deep down, I did not think anything would ever be done to solve the overall problem of hunger. However, my internship at Bread for the World this semester showed me a completely different side to the fight against hunger.
At Bread, people are doing something to stop hunger in the neighborhoods like the one where I grew up. Every day during my internship, I saw a group of people working together to achieve one common goal: to change the lives of millions of people by eliminating hunger for good. Their dedication and passion are inspiring and allow me to envision a day when I will return to my old neighborhood and see families with healthy meals on their tables. This is a much bigger and better dream than I could have ever imagined, and I am pleased to have been a part of such an important and necessary mission. I wish the entire Bread team the very best in their continued effort to end hunger and poverty.
Jaylynn Farr Munson is a media relations intern at Bread for the World. She is a senior at the University of Maryland, majoring in both English and communications.
Photo: A Sept. 2008 food bank distribution at ALIVE, in Alexandria, Va. Food Bank Distribution (Rick Reinhard)
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