Student turns hunger knowledge into winning essay

Posted: Monday, December 27, 2004


  Molly Watkins

Molly Watkins

Molly Watkins was the winner of the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank's world food day essay contest, the "Politics of Hunger: What's at Stake?" The contest, held in November, was open to area students in grades six through 12. She received a $50 savings bond.

Watkins is an eighth-grader in Jean Dixon's class at the Kenai Middle School and is the daughter of Jed and Chris Watkins of Kenai.

Politics of Hunger: What's at Stake?

By Molly Watkins

I get home from soccer practice and see dinner on the table.

"Let's eat! I'm starving!"

I chow down on everything in sight, and then leave the table without giving a second thought to the meal I have just consumed.

I am very lucky; I am not one of the estimated 841 million people in this world that goes to bed hungry every night. My life is not at stake because of hunger. That is what is at stake in the politics of hunger: people's lives.

Most people think of world hunger as something far away, something in some place far from here, and that we, as Americans, are not affected by it. That is not true. Hunger is in America; in fact, one out of eight children goes to bed hungry in the United States each night. Hunger is here in our own backyard. A walk down a street proved that to me.

The people at stake in this world of hunger are not people who loaf around, not trying to help themselves. They are the single mothers supporting families; they are grandmas and grandpas who have saved up their money for years, only to see it vanish due to medical bills. They are the children not able to concentrate on school work since they have not had a meal for days.

Hunger is all around us.

Hunger may seem like an unfixable problem, but it is not.

How can we help? We can volunteer some time at a food bank or soup kitchen. We can donate canned goods or a box of candy bars or jars of peanut butter. We can plant an extra row in our garden. These efforts will make someone's life better.

It does not have to be a mountain of muffins or a sea of spaghetti; whatever we donate helps. Every little bit counts. If each person helps out a little bit, world hunger will not be such a problem.

Helen Keller once remarked, "Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much."

That is true. We can all be someone's hero, if we just do our part.

Hunger around the world is a huge problem. Every four seconds, a child under the age of 5 dies due to hunger-related causes. Children who are malnourished are more vulnerable to disease.

Being hungry keeps children from going to school because they are too busy working for food. Being hungry keeps children from getting the education they need to have productive jobs later in life.

I know that the next time I sit down to a meal or walk through a supermarket, I will think about how privileged I am to always get enough to eat. I now know how lucky I am.

Remember, if everyone helps out just a little bit, world hunger will no longer be an issue. We can all be heroes.

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