36 Hope Expands: Food Waste and Hunger

36hopeexpands(36 Hope Expands. A series of 36 ways to expand compassion in our daily lives.)


A 2013 United Nations report: one third of the world’s food supply, or 1.3 billion tons of food, is wasted annually. Research indicates that about half of all food waste originates in households. There is enough food in our world to feed everyone, yet millions go hungry each day.

Hunger and its implications for families is devastating. I want to use what I have with compassion and be mindful of what others lack. Ten steps/habits I am working on this week:

  1. Freeze leftovers instead of forgetting about them in the refrigerator.
  2. Make a meal plan a week ahead of time (before) grocery shopping.
  3. Learn how to serve proper proportions. (I’m terrible at this.)
  4. Take note of what is getting thrown away. Adjust accordingly.
  5. I listened to Seline Juul’s TEDx talk Stop Wasting Food.
  6. I signed the Bread for the World Pledge to End Hunger.
  7. Our family is going to fill our giving bank with change as we save on groceries to eventually raise $264 to work with World Renew’s Free a Family.
  8. I’ll be reading Ellie and Josiah the books The Good Garden, and One Hen.
  9. I will be reading the book a Place at the Table and continue to advocate for important programs like WIC and SNAP.
  10. Work as a family to donate to Community Action House our local food pantry.

How do you minimize food waste in your home? 


Would you not cross a hundred deserts?

immigration 5It was not something I thought so much about. Often, people in the shadows come to light, but the fact that we can do something about it… really encourage change, stays pressed down. It is messy and it is hard, especially when it encircles the political realm.

Immigrants play an important role in the food system from fields to restaurants- as dairy workers, meat processing workers, cooks, busboys, and more. More than half of food sector workers-both immigrant and native-born earn poverty wages.

Bread for the World Institute Andrew Wainer


and this…

More than 70 percent of all hired US farm workers are foreign-born, mostly from Mexico, and about half are undocumented.

US Department of Labor


and then we know this…

The root cause of immigration: systematic poverty, economic instability, and a lack of viable employment.

The Church Between Borders



This past week I read, Trail of Hope and Terror by Miguel A. De La Torre.

As young migrants prepare to journey north. The author asks “Why are you crossing the border?” The unanimous answer “families who lacked food.”

“Please tell the Americans that I am sorry for entering their country like this. Please forgive us, but we are simply desperate.”

We pinned our names and pictures to our clothes in the event we would die; if our bodies were found, we could at least be identified… we risk death for the families left behind. Would you not cross a hundred deserts to feed your children? Ignatio


Would you not cross a hundred deserts to feed your children?

Yes, I would. Even if it was illegal. Especially if I knew freely offered work waited on the other side.


On Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the 2nd grade classroom I work in, his story was read. My student could not understand why someone would kill him, he could not wrap his mind around that new knowledge. It is so complicated to explain, but also simple.

Jesus was always bending in love… always. 


Movements start with people gathering around each other.

Bringing what was once hidden into light.

It is hard and messy, and it makes us confront truth about ourselves.

If you live in America and eat… you rely on the work of immigrants.

immi 6

Many are gathering around the table now, to pray a new dream of justice for immigrants.

Consider this Lenten Season Praying for Reform and Fasting for Families. Learn more on how to get involved here or talk to me!

What is your new dream? 



A Place at the Table


A Place at the Table is a film that looks at food insecurity in the United States.

The film features three people struggling with where their next meal will come from.

  • Barbie a single Mom who grew up in poverty trying to claim a better life for her children. 
  • Rosie a fifth grader who depends on neighbors and friends for food and has difficultly concentrating in school.
  • Tremonica a second-grader whose health issues are furthered by her lack of healthy food.

Watch the trailer here.

The companion book features thoughts from the those leading the fight to end hunger.


How can we help? 

Educate others about SNAP.

Behind every SNAP card is a family and children. Their faces should motivate us to compassion. Their stories are so much more than we assume.


SNAP (food stamps) facts and stories. If you have ever wondered about food assistance through the government please read these facts.

From Feeding America: Snap Facts, Myths, and Realities.

From the Hunger Coalition: 6 SNAP (Food Stamp) Myths

Common SNAP myths downloadable print out via USDA

From Bread for the World: It’s Time to Bust Myths about SNAP


Church Resources:

Bread for the World is a faith based organization working to end hunger. Download their follow up toolkit here.

When families have limited means for purchasing food they buy the cheapest options. This is often unhealthy food full of empty calories. A way to fight hunger in the United States is to help make healthy food available.

Get Involved:

  • Make your local food pantry a priority. 
  • Teach your kids about food insecurity. Sesame Street Download Eating Well on a Budget.
  • Many farmers’s market are accepting SNAP payments, see if your local market makes this available.
  • Support community gardens.


[Barbie Izquierdo and kids in A PLACE AT THE TABLE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.]

Bread for the World

Food is a basic need.

1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty.

14.5% of people in North America struggle with food insecurity.  1 in 4 children.

Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice that engages advocacy to end hunger.

They make a profound difference.  Their website offers many resources against the fight to end hunger.

  • Resources to engage your own community
  • Field Focus personal faith stories
  • Biblical Reflections and Children’s Sermons
  • Newsletters
  • Hunger Sunday resources

I would encourage you to take a moment to look at their website. I signed up for their email updates. They send out action alerts through the updates. Often, lending your voice only takes a couple of minutes. Your voice added to the collective voice makes a difference. In the time it takes you to flip through television channels, you can join in the fight to end hunger worldwide.