By Ruth Ferris
Hunger. There was a time when everyone reading this would immediately resonate with that word with a physical response, knowing in their bodies what that felt like.
The season of Lent meant that many in the Christian culture spent time fasting as part of their spiritual exercises during the Easter season. There are still practices of fasting by many in Jewish and Muslim cultures.
Besides spiritual practices, many of the early native people were “hungry” for nutrient rich foods in the spring. In an Ethnobotany class, I learned that the term “spring tonic” came from the fact that by spring, the cache of winter foods was becoming slim, especially foods that had high vitamin and mineral content. Leaves of many native plants blooming in spring such as dandelions and miner’s lettuce (plants that many now work to keep out of their gardens) were a rich source of those nutrients. Hunger for food has shaped much of history. It was the abundant grapes and olives that convinced the Israelites to enter the “Promised Land.”
Besides the hunger produced by fasting or low nutrients, there is the hunger faced by some in our community who open their cupboards to bare shelves. That means their children go to school without a meal or that their aging parents are vulnerable to illness. The Eatonville Family Agency (EFA), besides running the food bank and the backpack program, has decided to have a regionwide campaign with the goal that no one in our region will be hungry – not a single person.
Here are some things that are happening now:
• For the Hunger Hurts Campaign, there are meetings every Monday of those working to make that a successful campaign. There are posts on Facebook of things EFA is doing. Find us on facebook.com/eatonvillefamilyagency. Recent legislative advocacy did make a difference in the amount the state budgeted for hunger programs. Many organizations and individuals in the community are already working to make a difference on hunger issues. In spite of that, sometimes the shelves become depleted, and it takes enormous energy to get the shelves full again when that happens. One of the challenges to reducing hunger is to have a sustainable support.
The goal of the Hunger Hurts Campaign is to bring awareness, advocacy and resources to the problem of hunger in our area. We are asking everyone to join this campaign by becoming Hunger Heroes and doing at least one thing a month to fight hunger. You can donate food and funds, volunteer, host a food drive, or spread the word. If all of us do something at least once a month, large or small, together we can build the reserves at the EFA to a point where they can expand their feeding programs so no one will go hungry.
•Hunger Hurts Campaign Event, May 9. To kick off the campaign, there will be a soup supper at the Eatonville Community Center. It should feel like a gigantic neighborhood party with volunteers decorating tables and a friend of EFA who has gone to a culinary institute creating the soups. This will be a free (donations accepted) event that will be entertaining and informative. Special guest speakers include state Rep. J.T. Wilcox and Helen McGovern, the executive director of the Statewide Emergency Food Network. There will be some exciting announcements at the soup supper.
• RSVP You are encouraged to come to the Hunger Hurts Soup Supper and to bring interested friends, neighbors, and colleagues. However, space is limited, so reservations are required. Make your reservations now by calling the EFA at 360-832-6805 to let them know you are coming and how many will be coming with you. Reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis, so call today and join other Hunger Heroes making a difference in our community.
Ruth Ferris is a member of the Eatonville Family Agency Board.