Taking the Challenge to heart

Here in Montgomery County, MD, we have great leaders across the board. In our government, in the private sector, and in the nonprofit sector. This week, Councilmember Valerie Ervin spearheaded the SNAP Challenge, and it has been supported by every government official in the Council, the Executive Branch, and throughout the government. Each leader has been shown why they serve as they do. Private sector leaders have also joined in, and every nonprofit leader has not only participated but spread the word beautifully.

The focus has been squarely on the future – not what we are doing this week but what we will do next week and beyond. That has been great to see. Tonight, Ronnie Galvin of Impact Silver Spring, Marie Henderson of Interfaith Works, and I will join Councilmember Ervin in leading a night of reflection and planned action.

Personally, I know I need to continue the challenge. I will move into tomorrow and the future by continuing to spend no more than $5/day on food. I will budget accordingly so I can take out a friend for a birthday when that arises, but I will truly spend no more than $35/week on all food. This will be different; no evening or weekend pick-up of food at a local restaurant or splurge at a salad bar or any other luxury – even modest luxury. I will not be able to afford it.

The end game? No more hunger for our brothers or sisters, or parents or children. They suffer each day. Hunger pangs and nutritional deficiencies – and more – are far too common. Hunger affects school performance, job performance, and it deeply affects quality of life.

It is not hard to change this. And that is why I am so proud of our leaders here. They have seen that and are committed to changing it. Continuing to do what they have inspired here is the reminder and motivator I need to push my effort where it needs to be to help end poverty here and across our country.

A few folks here at A Wider Circle have wondered if it is healthy to do this, given that I do not sleep on a bed and we work 15 hours a day. I love that question because if eating this way is not healthy for one of us, it is not healthy – or tolerable – for any of us.

And so, I thank the people in the County who have taken this challenge – and taken it to heart. I thought I was sufficiently motivated to help our neighbors in need. I was not. Our neighbors need more urgency and more commitment.

I look forward to February 9. February 4 – 8 has been great, a critical step in our effort. February 9 will bring just what our neighbors need, the beginning of the end.

Because we can do it, we must do it.

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