Hunger is the kid whose only meal of the day comes from a free school lunch.
It is the elderly man who spends his money on medications rather than food.
It is the military family whose only breadwinner is overseas, fighting for his country.
Hunger is a solvable problem. But it’s going to take educating both the general public about what hunger really looks like, and those who are hungry about which programs are available.
Six panelists came to that consensus Wednesday night at a hunger and politics town hall at the Arizona Historical Society in Tempe.
"We have more people that drive home to gated communities, close the gate behind them and forget the rest of the world exists," said state Rep. Debbie McCune-Davis, D-Phoenix.
The meeting, sponsored by Valley-based St. Mary’s Food Bank and national group America’s Second Harvest, addressed poverty, food stamps, school programs and the relationship between obesity and hunger.
Other panelists were Eric Schockman, president of MAZON — A Jewish Response to Hunger; Linda Vaughan, chairwoman of the Department of Nutrition at Arizona State University East; Sen. Bill Brotherton, DPhoenix; Wayne Tormala, Phoenix’s community initiatives coordinator; and David Schwake, food service director for the Litchfield Elementary School District.
The panelists agreed knowledge may be the best solution.
"We need to educate about poverty," Tormala said. "We can’t buy our way out."
It’s no coincidence the meeting took place during election season, as
organizers hope it will boost civic awareness.
"Part of it is getting people involved," Brotherton said. "People don’t vote, or don’t vote regularly and the things they care about are not happening."