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When was the last time that you went to bed hungry and it WASN’T on purpose?
Think about it! When it WASN’T on purpose. There are many reasons when it IS on purpose: We want to lose weight - We might have a surgery scheduled; or a colonoscopy. But when it WASN’T on purpose.
Every year 1 in 7 Americans go to bed hungry and it’s not by choice. It’s by poverty. Or circumstance. Or poor decisions, or none of the above; OR all of the above. Yet the fact remains that on that night, wherever they may be they are faced with another night of hunger.
Did you know health experts recommend consuming five servings of fruits and vegetables daily? According to the USDA, as a nation, we only consume one serving of fruit and one and a half servings of vegetables per day. Many individuals and families have a hard time accessing produce in their communities. Perhaps people don’t understand how to cook or prepare the produce in a healthful manner, and many may be unaware of why fruits and vegetables are an important part of a nutritionally balanced diet.
Sarah, a current senior at South Forsyth High School, attended the 2014 Youth Summit on Hunger and Poverty at the Atlanta Community Food Bank (ACFB). Like all Youth Summit attendees, Sarah made a commitment to plan and complete a Hunger Fighting Action Step during the year following her participation with the Youth Summit. She decided to collect healthy snacks for kids for ACFB partner agency Meals by Grace. Even before the end of summer, she collected and donated over 750 snack servings from a neighborhood food drive.
We hear the calls of the health experts to improve our diets, get in better shape, and decrease our stress. We expect the promise for a healthy life to come quickly on the heels after making these changes, but what if you were unable to afford or access the healthy food that the experts recommend? Would that cause you stress? What if you were, or are, one of the 755,000 people who access food from a partner agency of the Atlanta Community Food Bank?
The first time I met Bill Bolling was six years ago. I was a teenager and I’d recently participated in the Food Bank’s first annual Youth Summit – a unique program that empowers local high schoolers to get involved in the fight against hunger. Each day during the Summit, my peers and I were challenged to consider the intersecting topics of hunger and poverty. We grappled with the how’s and why’s of these issues: What, we wondered, could possibly justify the inequalities we were witnessing? And why wasn’t more being done about it?
February, American Heart Month, is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and promoting healthy changes to improve heart health. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports heart disease as the leading cause of death in Georgia. It is important to adopt healthy dietary habits to promote heart health by increasing fiber and lowering sodium and saturated fat intake. According to the National Institutes of Health, normal cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL for LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and 40 mg/dL or higher for HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Eyes of the Beholder
As I stand under the Olympic Rings and look down the hill to the beginning of the Hunger Walk/Run each year, it appears as if a sea of humanity – black and white, young and old, rich and poor, every faith tradition, political persuasion and point of view – are merged into a moment in time in support of a common purpose. It’s an impression that stays in my memory throughout the year. As Plato once said “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” For me there is nothing more beautiful than Hunger Walk Day.