We moved to Kansas City nearly nine years ago for my husband’s job. We left my job, all of our friends, all of our families, everything we had known for our entire lives. Exciting. Terrifying.
Over the last nine years, this city has given us so much. Thriving careers that we love, friends that are family, restaurants and stores that we adore, beauty everywhere you look.
We decided early in our residence that we wanted to give back to the city that continues to give so much to us. Over the past nine years, we have volunteered, served on boards of agencies, donated money, and provided other means of support to local agencies in an effort to say thank you to this community.
In September, my friend, Cassie, called attention to the idea of Pantry Privilege. September is Hunger Action Month, which is an effort to end hunger through our nation’s food banks. Through the hashtag, #pantryprivilege, she issued a challenge to any who would accept it, to donate at least three items to a local food pantry. She started with the idea that, on any given day, if you open your pantry, you likely have at least three things that you will not use and will expire on your shelves. Personally, I hate wasting food, so I try not to overbuy food or let it expire, but she wasn’t wrong. I opened my pantry and quickly filled a bag with items that I knew we wouldn’t use.
And that’s a privilege, right? The fact that I CAN open my pantry and find food that I don’t want or intend to use, when millions of people are literally dying to have them. 40 million people to be exact, as I found as I researched Cassie’s challenge. That staggering statistic broke my heart. 40 million people are struggling with hunger (11 million of which are children), so obviously this issue doesn’t end in September. Hunger touches every community, including our beloved Kansas City.
I was so inspired by this challenge, and my friend, Cassie, that I continued to read about hunger insensitivity and the things I could do to make an impact. Every community has a food bank, and Kansas City has several. The biggest ways to make in impact are to volunteer your time, to donate your funds, to bring awareness on social media, and of course to donate goods to the pantries.
With my travel schedule, I knew that I couldn’t commit to a regular volunteer effort. And I can’t necessarily afford to give my money on an ongoing basis. But this city makes it so easy to donate goods to our local food banks! So after that initial bag of donated items, I came up with a plan to give on an ongoing basis. Each week, when I get my groceries, I will be adding three donation items to my cart and dropping them in the Harvesters barrel at Price Chopper. The average can of vegetables is less than 50 cents, and the donation barrel is at the front of the store. Couldn’t be easier.
Kansas City, we love you so much, and I just hope that this provides some relief to the community that has embraced us as their own.
So what about you…can you accept the challenge and donate your time, money, or pantry items to help end hunger?
Here is a list of the most needed items at food pantries:
All statistics were taken from Feeding America.