My child asked me at dinner, “Mom, why aren’t you eating?” I sat in my usual spot at our round family dinner table while my family ate their dinner. My plate remained empty while theirs was filled with some favorite comfort foods: macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers and tater tots. Our evening meal time is important to us for connection, check-ins and chuckles about our day.
Tonight’s question was a big one with a simple answer: I’m not eating because children are not eating. And that is not okay. I am protesting policies that neglect our hungry children. Because they are OUR children.
After this explanation our child sat quietly, thinking. He said, “I just hope it doesn’t make you crabby.” We chuckled and then I said, “I’m not feeling crabby. I am feeling grateful. I am grateful that you don’t have to go hungry. But it is wrong that other children do.”
For dessert tonight my family enjoyed brownies. They smelled delicious and my son playfully placed one right under my nose, saying, “smell!” I did. It smelled divine.
Day two of my protest fast highlights for me my own privilege. Today I can afford to walk into any grocery store or restaurant and buy anything I want. Today, I can eat when I want, what I want, where I want and as much as I want. This wasn’t always the case.
Not only did I experience poverty as a child, including food insecurity, I also experienced it briefly as a new, young pastor. Not having enough money to buy your hungry baby food is the WORST feeling in the world. It happened to me when the church’s paycheck came a few days late. There was no money in the bank to pay for groceries. I felt humiliated, ashamed, embarrassed, and angry. I had a job, I just didn’t get paid.
Hunger is an injustice. It’s dehumanizing to make people beg for food. Why can’t we feed America’s children? In America, no one should have to tell their hungry child that there is nothing to eat.
My Pastor’s Protest Fast will end on Thursday, August 22 in the afternoon at the Fair Shot for All Children event at First United Methodists in Noblesville, Indiana. I’ll join with others to break the fast and to advocate, joining our collective power to ask our elected officials to make ending child hunger a priority in Indiana.
Join me if you can, or get involved where you live to end hunger. Pray and take action so that all children, OUR children will grow up strong, healthy, and loved.
To learn more connect with Bread for the World: https://bread.org/