What does it mean to be hungry?

Feb 25, 2022

Many of us don’t know what it means to be hungry.

We don’t have to think twice about stocking our pantries, ordering online grocery delivery, or even indulging in the occasional take-out meal once or twice a week. We plan out our dinners, one or two weeks ahead of time. We host freezer meal parties and stock the extra freezer in the garage with extra meals for those times when we’re “just too tired to cook.”

What does food security mean to you? 

But as we’ve been exploring over the last couple of weeks, hunger is real to many of our neighbors, both locally and globally. Food security is not always a reality.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 800 million people live with food insecurity worldwide. They lack “physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” This equates to nearly one in nine people on our planet. In developing countries, the numbers are even higher, where an estimated 13.5 percent of the population experiences malnutrition and undernourishment.

We talked about it on a local level in last week’s blog post, when we were reminded that a full-time, minimum-wage job still often doesn’t allow for many of our neighbors to pay for rent and utilities and put food on the table. Those who experience food insecurity are forced to make daily, weekly and monthly decisions about where and how to use their money, notes Chuck Haren, program director at Plenty International.

“They have a myriad of costs to deal with. How do you choose?” Haren stated in a podcast interview.

Sometimes choice is the greatest privilege of all. 

And when our local and global neighbors are the direct recipients of unjust systems that benefit some but not all, parents have to choose between putting nutrient-dense food on the table and keeping the heater on in below-freezing weather. Families have to choose between paying the rent and skipping a meal.

But if we belong to each other, then we belong to one another in suffering and in joy, in plenty and in want, in every hour of every day.

As the late Desmond Tutu eloquently said, “If we could recognize our common humanity, that we do belong together, that our destinies are bound up in one another’s, that we can be free only together, that we can be human only together, then a glorious world world come into being where all of us lived harmoniously together as members of one family, the human family.”

And isn’t this what we want? Isn’t this who we are? 

We invite you to journey with us as we continue to explore these questions, as we seek to do small things with great love, together.


Congrats to a Grad!

Did you know that The Simple Way offers an opportunity for young people connected to our community to attend and excel in college? Appropriately called Simple Way Scholars, in partnership with Eastern University, we equip students for their undergraduate journey by...

A Prayer for this Significant Week

As you may know, this week holds special significance for three major world religions: It’s Holy Week, in which the Christian tradition commemorates Jesus’ death and celebrates his resurrection three days later.  Good Friday also marks the start of the Jewish festival...

Places of Beauty, Places of Terror

As we mentioned on our social media channels this last week, we hold the tension of the both/and on a regular basis. Is it ever the same for you? Our neighborhood is a place of beauty, that much is true, but it can also be a place of terror. In an essay by Dr. Bill...

More to the Story

The scene is often the same: Fast-food joints dot every corner. Corner stores boast an abundance of “just add water” meals, junk food, alcoholic beverages and soda pop. With nary a piece of fruit or vegetable in sight, poor, urban areas like our own often lack viable...

Why Jobs Without Livable Wages Still Aren’t Enough

Poverty is a vicious cycle. In our neighborhood, 9.3% of Kensington residents are unemployed - this in comparison to Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, with overall unemployment rates of 7.5% and 4.5% respectively. It’s easy to imagine how those who are experiencing...

Our neighborhood is not a monolith

As you may have seen on social media last week, in 2021, 7,741 adults, 1,604 seniors, and 5,171 children were served through our food distribution efforts. In total, we shared 279,390 pounds of food with our neighbors. The reality is that our neighborhood is not...

When Hospitality & Space Intertwine

As you may have read in our newsletter earlier this week, as followers of Jesus, we feel called to practice hospitality. At The Simple Way, we’ve gone as far as to include Radical Hospitality as one of our core values. Hospitality is defined as taking care of your...

Honoring Our Elders with a Food Pantry Day

It’s been just over one month since we opened a Food Choice Pantry day just for Seniors! Due to the pandemic, we’ve only been able to welcome a few neighbors into the food choice pantry at a time. This limit has meant people sometimes have to wait. Over the summer, we...

The Simple Way Scholars Alumnus – Hector Davila Jr.

I’m a people-oriented person. I’ve always loved being a part of a community and building long-lasting relationships. I love hearing stories from other people and what they’ve been through. My philosophy in life is that everyone has a story to share, and each story is...

Neighbor Spotlight: Loving Your Block by Picking Up Trash

Loving your neighborhood can feel overwhelming or abstract. “Where do I start?” is a question many people ask when they come to us.  Sometimes, the easiest way to start loving your neighborhood is by looking at what’s right in front of you. It's beginning to look...