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9th annual UFWH Summit: Focusing on Food Access

Did you enjoy that nice salad you had for lunch this weekend? How about that steak that was grilled just right at your favorite restaurant? Or what about the leftover meatloaf you put in the refrigerator for today’s lunch?

Now imagine how you would feel if you forgot today’s lunch at home. For some, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, they’d just have to stop by a local restaurant or a dining hall on campus and have their pick of anything already made. Others might just not have time to grab a bite to eat, but they’d just make up for it by eating a bigger dinner.

For others, they might go days and days without food. They don’t have the opportunity to take a lunch break. They don’t have leftovers because there was no food on the table last night to begin with.

For a little bit less than 72 hours on February 28th, March 1st and 2nd, these people are our only focus. A college town that is usually filled with football fans on a fall Saturday will become the gathering point for hundreds of faculty and students who care.

We care for those who can’t eat daily. We care for those who don’t have enough money to live from day to day. We care for those who don’t have a source of clean water or healthy food. We care for those who walk miles and miles to obtain a few days worth of food for their families. We care for local children who rely on school programs to eat one meal each day. We care for the millions that show up at food pantries each day. We care for foreign students who come from poverty-stricken countries in order to gain an education in America. We care for those without healthy soil where crops can’t grow in abundance. We care for those developing new programs that could help save thousands of lives. We care for the improvement of clean water sources in underdeveloped countries. We care because there are so many more ideas that haven’t been thought of yet.

I care because I’ve seen firsthand the effects of malnourishment in remote villages of Haiti. I’ve experienced living off of one meal of rice and sometimes goat meat each day for a week. I care because I’ve seen 20-year old children that have lived without adequate amounts of food who are the size of four year olds, Haitian families who lost several children due to childhood diseases that could have been prevented with proper diets, parents who couldn’t pick up their children because they were purely skin and bones, children who are too weak to walk or play…

Now imagine a world where these weren’t issues. A world where every child had three meals a day and didn’t have to walk to a different village for a clean source of water. A world where food pantries didn’t have to exist and where there was no food waste. A world where malnutrition didn’t mean underdevelopment or death.

These goals may not happen in our lifetimes, but with your help we can made strides the fight against hunger. We hope to see you at the UFWH 9th Annual Hunger Summit at Auburn University February 28th-March 2nd, 2014.

Written by Nicole Nabozniak, Auburn University junior, UFWH intern.