DAY TWO – 12 Days of Giving – Mandi and Feeding America

As the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, our food bank network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. Feeding America benefits from the unique relationship between our 202 local member food banks at the front lines of hunger relief and the central efforts of our national office.

Team Member: Mandi, Community Manager

When my quiet little town was featured on USAToday in a story to talk about the rise in poverty, I was heartbroken. It’s a shock to actually SEE your downtown, to see the soup kitchens and food pantries where people are going for help. You know they exist, you know where they are, but having them displayed in such a way as this made it real. It was hard to watch the accompanying video, because we saw the places we love, and we saw people we know.

When I was younger, I watched my family fluctuate first-hand. From abundance to barely surviving. I remember at one point, in my teenage years, going to the food pantry with my mom. I was so confused – how did it happen? Why were we walking through this make-shift store, filling a cart with predetermined items based on our income and household size? Those were tough times – so many things were going on, and I was just a confused teen girl who’s mom needed her help.

Since then, my family has made donations to that same food pantry. It’s full circle. We took and now we give. Life has blessed in a way that we are able to do this – even if it’s just taking an $10 and buying what we can, it’s still something. And that something? That something is food for a family. For a hardworking family, for someone who’s lost their job, or with health conditions that affect their life. The next person in line could be someone you just walked by at the store, or a family friend – 1 in 6 Americans are hungry, it could be anyone.

37 million people – can you even imagine? That’s how many people are served by the network of Feeding America food banks in ONE year. I can’t even imagine the tiny faces of those little ones, who are hungry and don’t have anything. I look in my kitchen, and I see food everywhere. It’s not fair, it’s not right. It shouldn’t BE this way – no child should be hungry.

THE FRESH 20 HAS DONATED $250. to Mandi’s organization of choice.  Happy Holidays!