If It’s Personal, It’s Reversible


As Friends Academy students observe Hunger Awareness Day, some do not believe the day accomplishes all that it sets out to, and many students have ideas on how the day can improve.


Beginning with the celebratory Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Friends Academy’s Peace Week ends with the somber and serious observance of Hunger Awareness Day. The goal of the day is to make Friends’ students across all divisions aware of food insecurity and to provide an empathetic experience on the issue.


During the high school’s normal PE time, students partnered up with their Worship Buddies, year-long, inter-divisional student relationships. High school students also partnered with middle school buddies to make sandwiches to donate to POTS (Part of the Solution), a non-profit organization that helps feed the hungry. Other high school students partnered with lower school buddies to write cards to go along with the sandwiches, and with the help of teachers they completed activities and reflections raising awareness on food insecurity.


For middle schoolers and high schoolers, lunch was reduced to rice, beans, bananas, and water as an empathetic exercise in going through the day hungry. While Hunger Awareness Day draws attention to food insecurity and helps spark change, some Friends Academy students believe that the day could be doing more to educate students across all divisions and give a face to the problem of hunger.


The students’ most negative feedback came from the sandwich-making exercise. Students saw people not giving the exercise the respect it deserved, not taking care in making clean, presentable sandwiches. High schoolers attributed the lack of seriousness to a lack of personal connection to the issue. We hope that no one in our community has to experience food insecurity, and most of our community most likely never will. We were told statistics and facts on the subject, but many students were unhappy with the fact that the problem had no face. We didn’t get to hear the story of someone living with food insecurity, nor did we meet with someone who would receive the sandwiches. For a problem that affects countless people around us, many students felt distant. In their opinion, this lack of personal connection prevented  Hunger Awareness Day from having its intended effect. Students found that trying to educate and replicate a problem without real examples and stories left them with a vague idea of the issue, which led to misconceptions and indifference.


However, Friends students were quick to recognize that the concept of Hunger Awareness Day is a good thing. They believe that speakers, stories told through videos, a trip to POTS, even a YSOP opportunity for all high school grade levels, can make a difference in Hunger Awareness Day’s effectiveness. Our students recognize that with care comes change, and in order to provide the most help to the most people, issues have to become personal.


With Friends Academy already including student voices in academics, athletics, and future plans for the school, students who are passionate about Hunger Awareness Day and helping others hope that in years to come the issue of food insecurity will be given a face, a story, and ultimately, a happy ending.