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Food, sacrifice and giving

Food, sacrifice and giving

How my son's adoption and Hunger Action Month inspires me on the eve of Yom Kippur


September is Hunger Action Month, a campaign established by Feeding America (a national network of local food pantries) to raise awareness for the 49.1 million American households facing “food insecurity.” That amounts to 1 in 5 school kids who are unsure where or how they will find their next meal.

This mind-boggling statistic is never far from my mind, but it came back to front and center this morning as I thought about Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday of atonement starting this evening that is usually marked with a day of fasting and, often, charitable donations. In a way, Such an intersection of food, sacrifice and giving.

Thus, this struck me as a poignant time to share the place of food insecurity in my own family’s decision to found freedible. You see, our journey towards freedible began unwittingly, when we adopted a little boy at birth from a large family in America's rural south. Food pantries weren’t just active in their community, they were an active part of my little boy’s prenatal nutrition. That is, if you can call the haphazard results derived from whatever happened to be available in an entirely donations-dependent food pantry once the food stamps ran out at the end of the month, “nutrition.”

As an American and as an adoptive mom, the level of food poverty even in this rich country breaks my heart. As a custom eater, it terrifies me.

It terrifies me because I know that even with the gift of a diagnosis, I couldn’t meet my little boy’s needs for a phenomenally-consistent, 15 ingredient diet in a food pantry — any more than you could reliably find safely peanut-free food for our Community Manager Rebeca's little girl.  Or, as our member C.J. Williams so generously shared on her blog, any more than someone with a celiac diagnosis can accept "free" food that isn't certified gluten free. These foods are too few and far between to begin with - add to that their expense and the probability of them being available in your local food pantry drops even further.

Over time, I hope that freedible will be in a position to help influence the food industry in ways that will make these life-saving foods more available in our nation's food pantries.  But we start where we are. 

So today, I thought I would bring these thoughts to you, and encourage you to support one of the many amazing organizations working hard every day to end hunger in America and in less-often attended corners of the world. Or maybe walk by a food pantry in your own community and donate a bag full of foods you could actually eat.

After all, who better than custom eaters to appreciate the value of food to, and for, us all.



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