Food Shouldn't Be an Impossible Choice
Sep 1, 2021
By: Erinn Rowe, CEO
The first words out of both of my son’s mouths when I pick them up from school is “What’s for dinner? I’m starving.” As bookbags, lunchboxes, and shoes are thrown to the side, they head straight to the kitchen.
My eldest wants chicken and pasta for dinner. My youngest, the foodie, lists off seven dishes that he discovered on TikTok, YouTube, or Netflix cooking shows. We usually end up somewhere in the middle, and then we are able to sit down and eat together.
We are able to sit down and eat our favorite dishes: my grandmother’s recipe for shrimp gumbo, my son’s experiment from TikTok, or what I chose from the grocery store. We are fortunate to have choices when it comes to what we eat.
For many of our neighbors, the choice is nonexistent. There is no choice on what they get to eat. The choice is if they eat. Food shouldn’t be an impossible choice. Families across South Carolina are forced to choose between food and other necessities such as housing, medicine, or childcare.
But you have an opportunity to help make those choices easier. You can take action.
September is Hunger Action Month, and here at Harvest Hope we are joining our sister food banks and Feeding America to raise awareness and stand up against hunger. Every action we take brings us one step closer to a hunger-free tomorrow, and we need your help.
By joining the thousands of individuals across the nation who are stepping up to end hunger, you can choose to make a difference. Below are the six ways we are challenging you, our community, to get involved this month. Will you take action and complete the challenge?
1. Learn about Hunger
One of the best ways to start your fight against hunger is to learn about what hunger looks like here in our communities. There are a lot of misconceptions about what it means to be hungry, and before we can end hunger, we must understand it. Avoid making assumptions about people that face food insecurity and consider listening to stories from real families that face hunger. Check out our Fact v. Fiction blog post and the Five Myths About Hunger article by Feeding America to get started.
2. Get Social
Talk about what you learn! Sharing with your community about the reality of hunger is a powerful way to educate others and encourage them to get involved. Social media can be a simple and effective way to get the word out. We encourage you to take a couple of minutes to repost anything interesting you learn from our social media accounts, share your own experiences with food insecurity, or check out our social media toolkit for post-ready content. Word of mouth is also a great way to teach people about Hunger Action Month. Challenge yourself to speak with three different people about hunger this month. Encourage the people you talk with to do the same.
3. Donate or Fundraise
Donations are what keep hunger relief programs, like Harvest Hope and our partners, running smoothly. Monetary donations allow us to expand operations and meet increasing service demands. Consider making a one-time or monthly donation to Harvest Hope or your local food pantry. You can encourage your friends and family to get involved as well by starting a virtual fundraiser in the name of Hunger Action Month. Non-perishable food items also make great donations. The next time you are at the grocery store, consider buying a meal for a family in need and bringing it to one of our locations. Guidelines on what kind of food donations are best are on our donations page.
At Harvest Hope, we rely on the help of volunteers like you! Spending a couple of hours volunteering can make a big difference and is a great way to spend quality time with friends and family while making a positive impact on your community! Check out the volunteer availability at your local Harvest Hope location and lend a hand. Or check out the availability at other food pantries in your area.
Want to go a step further? You can also volunteer to host a food drive in the name of Hunger Action Month. Call on members in your community to collect food throughout the month and donate the collected food to Harvest Hope at the end of September. This is a great way to get an office, sports team, or community group involved.
Voting is a powerful way to speak up and make change. Local and federal hunger relief programs can be the difference between a healthy path forward and continued cycles of poverty. We encourage you to keep hungry families in mind when you go to the polls. In South Carolina, the City of Columbia will be holding a Mayoral Election that will take place on Tuesday, November 2nd. If you are a Columbia resident, remember to get registered, get to the polls, and consider what you’ve learned during Hunger Action Month.
To learn more about local elections, visit scVotes, where you can verify or complete your voter registration online and view sample ballots for upcoming elections. If there aren’t any elections in your area, take some time to check or update your voter registration and think about how you can vote to end hunger in the future. You can also speak up by contacting your representatives. Tell them to take action to help end childhood hunger, or military hunger, or both! Visit Feeding America to sign a petition and send a message to your congressional representative about the issues you care about.
6. Go Orange
Despite any college sport allegiances, orange is the color of hunger. All month long, Harvest Hope will be using orange everywhere we can to raise awareness, especially on Hunger Action Day. Wear orange on September 17th to show the world that you’re taking action against hunger and encourage your peers to do the same. If you don’t have any orange in your wardrobe, you can purchase your own Harvest Hope Hunger Action Month shirt to raise awareness and show that food shouldn’t be an impossible choice. For every shirt sold, 20 meals will be donated to someone in need.
Building a hunger-free tomorrow in South Carolina is no small task, but together, we can all take action – any action – to help our neighbors who are having to make impossible choices every day. If you join us and complete this challenge, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be entered into a drawing for some cool Harvest Hope prizes!