Actually Solving Childhood Hunger

I am excited to announce that Feed Washington recently reached the milestone of having generated over 500,000 meals for the hungry kids in our state. While I’m proud of this accomplishment, there is still work to be done to reach the end goal of actually solving childhood hunger. Over the years of running Feed Washington, I have learned much about hunger, its connection to other societal problems we face, and the truth regarding how it’s going to be solved. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and conclusions with you here.

Some causes are more important than others. Each of us has our favorite causes, and every one of those causes deserve support. There are, however, certain societal problems that must be prioritized above others by any benevolent and humane society. The provision of food, clothing and shelter to anyone that isn’t able to provide it for themselves must come before anything else. We can argue about politics, religion, and issues such as abortion, gay marriage and maybe even adult hunger, but allowing children to go hungry in our backyard shouldn’t be negotiable and is completely unacceptable.

Hunger and poverty are gateway societal problems. The effects of hunger and poor nutrition, particularly on kids, are well documented. When a kid shows up at school (or anywhere) hungry, they can’t focus and they lack energy. They miss school and other activities because their immune systems aren’t strong, and they are often sick. They can be misdiagnosed as having learning and mental disorders, and are ostracized by their peers. It’s not a stretch to think that the ostracizing can lead to bullying, which can, in turn, lead to retaliation by the hungry child. With an estimated 100,000 children in our State going hungry on a daily basis, we are taking a massive risk that their hunger won’t be an underlying, yet direct, cause of the bullying, suicides and shootings we will see in our communities in the years to come. The lesson: We will pay for childhood hunger one way or another, and it makes more sense to pay to feed kids than it does to pay for the negative ramifications of not feeding them.

The government isn’t going to solve it. It’s not that our legislators are bad people who are indifferent to the plight of hungry children; they are simply part of a system that isn’t set up to solve certain societal problems efficiently. Politicians have no choice but to compromise to forward their political ambitions, maintain the status quo, and keep our institutions and infrastructure in working order. To actually solve a significant societal problem like hunger, there can be no compromise. If we want to solve childhood hunger, there isn’t a lot to be discussed; either we do it or we don’t. It’s our choice and we must stop looking to anyone else for the solution.

It’s easy to look away. We’re overwhelmed by the myriad of problems we face as a society and as individuals. We are all busy, have limited funds, and are constantly being asked to donate to this, that or the other. We want to do good, but we also figure it’s really no use. Our donations might help, some, but they’re surely not going to solve anything. In my lifetime, I don’t know that I’ve heard of any major societal problem actually being solved. It shouldn’t be surprising to any of us that we become apathetic and look away. It’s simply less painful than confronting a problem, making a donation, only to be frustrated that the problem is still there the next day. But just because it's easy to look away, doesn't mean it's acceptable. If you look at childhood hunger, and allow yourself to feel it (as much as you can), then I'm confident you'll quickly agree with me that we have no choice but to confront it head on.

Childhood hunger is easy to solve. To solve childhood hunger, there isn’t anything that needs to be invented, cured, developed or researched. We can solve childhood hunger today simply by applying money to the purchase and distribution of food. We have the money, the food, and the ability to distribute it. The only thing missing is our collective will.

The Feed Washington business model works. While Feed Washington hasn't solved hunger (yet), we have proven that our simple business model is effective and efficient. With no employees, expenses, or salaries to pay, we have been able to generate over 500,000 meals for the hungry kids of our State with a relatively small, monthly donation stream. The idea that over 500,000 meals can be generated from monthly donations that our donors don’t even notice is the key to Feed Washington’s success, and the reason why the Feed Washington model will solve childhood hunger. If you’re not hungry, and you can donate some amount of money ($1, $5, $10, $50?) each month and not even notice that donation on your monthly credit card or bank statement, then there’s really no choice but to make the donation.

I thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you will take a moment to join the cause and be part of the movement that actually solved childhood hunger in our State.

Regards,
Eirik

Eirik Olsen
President | Founder
Feed Washington
cell: 206.276.8322
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