I guess many of us have never known hunger. True hunger. Not just being hungry and having to wait till the end of class to hit the vending machine, cafeteria or fast food stand. Luckily, many of us never will experience going truly hungry.
As September is Feeding America’s Hunger Action month, I decided to try and see if I could replicate what it might be like. One day made me start rethinking this. One single day. Actually, it wasn’t even that long.
I ate a hotdog and an unsalted pretzel at the Greg Mortenson lecture on Monday the 31st. By 2 p.m. on Sept. 1, I was already feeling a bit queasy and lethargic. I had a number of meetings and couldn’t concentrate and felt like my mind was running in circles.
The day started off somewhat normal. I woke up, brushed my teeth, and angled for the computer and the list of ‘to-do’s. The list for the day wasn’t all that daunting: a few meetings, a seminar, create a few stats tables and some thesis writing.
No sweat — a few sips of water for breakfast and we’re good. The weird thing is how it didn’t take long to feel like I was obsessing about food and eating. An office party early on was my first temptation.
Not long after that, a colleague and I spoke briefly about the first day being the hardest thing. What? I had originally planned this endeavor to be a daylong fast, but the talk of day two sunk in quickly and I began mentally preparing for the coming day.
Throughout the remainder of the day, I kept thinking about food and smelling it everywhere. A meeting at 3:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center was torture. As I sat listening to ideas, I realized that I had a pretty good headache going. A flash through the day’s memory bank told me that pounding had been there most of the day.
I had wanted to shut my eyes and sleep since mid-morning — luckily for me, the discussion was lively and interactive. Pulling myself back to focus on the tasks at hand, I thought of what it might be like to have to live everyday underfed.
Could a person really function like this? Here on campus, we have ready access to food and restaurants everywhere we turn. The reality is that a lot of people in Fort Collins struggle to gain access to and afford enough food for everyone at the table.
On Monday, Greg Mortenson motivated and inspired a mass of us at Moby Arena. Sometimes I find myself feeling so little and in the shadow of such great people as him.
How am I going to build a 100 schools? How will I ever go about helping eight million boys and girls get an education?
The task is so massive and scary of all the things we would like to fix or change — can one person make a difference? I suppose the answer is always: start small, start at home in your community, on our campus and maybe just as important is to be compassionate.
This year, the Food Bank of Larimer County and Feeding America are raising awareness during Hunger Action Month right on our campus.
For so many service based clubs, student organizations, sororities and fraternities on campus, I think our collective voice as CSU could shine through in a most inspiring way if we came through to support such a wonderful cause that benefits people we share Fort Collins with everyday.
Phoenix Mourning-Star is a graduate student at CSU and is participating in Hunger Action month with a Strike on Hunger. You can follow his Strike on Twitter: StrikeHunger, Facebook: Hunger Strike: Phoenix’s Strike Against Hunger or check out http://sites.google.com/site/phoenixsstrikeonhunger/. His column appears occasionally in the Collegian.