Loading Good Exchanges

Communicating with Food

The Feeding America Child Hunger Corps is a national service program that began to help increase the capacity of Feeding America member food banks and to increase the number of meals served to children and their families. Check out this article written by Eileen Emerson, a Child Hunger Corps member!

I know I can't be the only one who, since becoming a Child Hunger Corps member, thinks about food about three times as often as I once did. And I don't mean I spend significantly more time thinking about what I'm going to have for dinner, though I do think I'm more appreciative of the fact that I know I will have a dinner.

No, I mean thinking about food as something more than just a meal, but rather as a societal glue, a defender of dignity, a mechanism for social justice and a vehicle for memory and culture...

How many of my own memories and relationships can be told through food?

For example, as I was growing up, every Halloween, my mom and I would make a dirt cake for my class. In the interest of full disclosure, this dirt cake — mostly made of chocolate and Cool Whip with gummy worms poking their heads through crushed Oreo topping — has no nutritious ingredients. But I loved spending that time with my mom, dancing to "Monster Mash" and eating a gummy worm for every five I stuck in the cake. I loved getting to share something I had made with my friends and classmates...

Eileen and her family

Food has also helped get me through some difficult days... I'm talking about when my dad was hospitalized off and on for weeks when I was in eighth grade, and when he got sick again a few years ago... Like clockwork, our church arranged for us to be brought casseroles and entrees and side dishes pretty much every day...

These people were showing their love and concern through food. When there was nothing else they could do, they knew they could feed us. They knew we needed to eat to live, but they weren't trying to keep us alive — they were trying to sustain and support us emotionally, to show solidarity and compassion, and they did that using food.

So, when I think about what my food bank and the Feeding America network do, I still think about the importance of making sure no one goes physically hungry. But I also think about how food enables neighbors to care for one another and build community, and how food allows a family to celebrate and to mourn...

That's what I think about, and that's what motivates me, and that's what I love best about this job.

To find out more info and to read more blog posts from Feeding America, click here.

Up Next

Community Messages