Faces of Hunger

Amy Costliow, SNAP Outreach Worker, Iowa Food Bank Association

If we’re passionate about advocating for the hungry, we must first know the hungry. We need to understand not just what they can or cannot eat, but most importantly who those who hunger are. As a new face in the daily fight against hunger in the State of Iowa, I have quickly learned hunger does not discriminate. Hunger doesn’t only affect certain geographical locations, certain races or certain economic classes. Want to know what else hunger doesn’t do? It doesn’t give a voice to those being crushed by its weight. I hope this post gives you some insight about the hungry in Iowa I’ve met, those who have lost their voice, those we fight for.

Janice* is Hungry *(all names have been changed to protect client’s identity)

When I first saw Janice* I could tell by her cane, headscarf, and warm smile that her story was a powerful one. As I talked with the group of people around her about SNAP benefits Janice looked hopeful and informed me, “I’ll be right over” in a quiet voice. As we began working through the online application she shared the struggles her family had been facing putting food on the table while trying to keep her well. Janice is a breast cancer survivor, who like many, was crippled by the costs of traveling to and from hospital visits and purchasing medication and treatments. Janice reminded me, we are all faced with choices but choosing whether to eat dinner or afford medicine should never be one of them. Janice is hungry.

 George* is Hungry

George* is a proud American. George served his country in the Air Force and married his high school sweetheart. He lives in the same small town in Eastern Iowa where he was raised. George and his wife raised three children who all went to college and are raising children with the values George and his wife taught them: work hard, be honest and help others. Unfortunately, those values aren’t putting food on George’s table these days. George is a senior citizen who lives alone and daily attends the senior meal his senior citizen center offers, but that leaves two meals for George to afford on his own every day. George served his country, contributed to his community and lived an honest life. George is hungry. 

 LeAnn and Alex* are Hungry

LeAnn has a two year old daughter and recently married Alex. These young parents are patient and kind with their daughter and I watched as they taught her about healthy snacks and meals. Alex and LeAnn were doing well a couple years ago and were thrilled when they found out they were expecting. Soon after they celebrated the birth of their daughter Alex was laid off. LeAnn and Alex are struggling to pay rent, afford utilities and provide food for their young family. LeAnn and Alex would like to open a savings account, prepare for when their baby goes to college and feed their daughter food that will help her grow big and strong, but hunger won’t allow for that. LeAnn and Alex are hungry.

 The stories above don’t even begin to share all the stories of those who hunger. There are over 382,000 of these stories, the stories of the over 382,000 Iowans who live next door to us, who go to our same church, and who struggle against hunger. When you hear about Janice, George and LeAnn and Alex I hope you are able to see them as Iowans, as people who deserve a chance and as someone worth fighting for.

Help us in giving Janice, George and LeAnn and Alex a voice. Stand with us in the fight against hunger.

Visit www.IowaFBA.org and sign up at www.hungeractioncenter.org to Take Action!




About amyranae

Nonprofit professional. Living with Lupus. Life enthusiast.

Posted on January 26, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Wonderfully written, Amy! Such a powerful message!


  2. im very proud of u roomie! This a nice piece of work!


  3. Thank you for sharing, Amy. This is very eye-opening.


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