How many of us really know what hunger is all about? Most of you will know what it is like to never know what hunger is about. You will know what 3 meals a day is like and snacks. I wish everyone could experience that. According to feedingamerica.org 40 million Americians struggle with hunger which includes 12 million children. Wow! I find that staggering. 4 million people in Canada experience food insecurity and 1 in 8 Canadians struggle to put food on their tables. This topic lays near and dear to my heart. It is a hard and painful subject for me, but recently wrote about it in my memoirs.
As a child growing up in Ireland we lived in poverty. There were 7 children to feed so money was always tight. My stepmom was Catholic so there were often big families. We had food in our house, but my brother and I were not allowed access to it. We were the black sheep of the family and we were shoved aside. Both of us spent long days and nights locked in our rooms. When my brother lived at home we would hang out on the landings of our homes. My brother tried to protect me as much as he could. I felt helpless as a child.
We were often only allowed one meal a day which usually dinner, but I was not allowed to join the family at the table. That’s another story which you can read in my memoirs. Food often consisted of foods I hated. My stepmom was a terrible cook and boiled everything to death so it was often very rubbery. One would think if you were hungry you would just eat it. I hated liver and I always got an extra portion of it. I was told if I wouldn’t eat it I was not leaving the table. So I sat there for a long time, part of my plan is to see how long I could sit there and not have to go back to my bedroom. My stepmom made me sit there for hours. At least it was a different place to be as I often spent days and months locked in my bedroom. Here I could see how my siblings lived and if I cranked my neck I could hear the tv. Finally she would get fed up and I’d go back to my room. The next day it would be in my lunch to take to school.
On my way to school I would toss it into the garbage. I learned for a while that my dad kept lots of loose change in his coat pocket and I would steal change out of it and buy food in the tuck shop at school. When you are hungry so hungry that you feel like you will die eventually that pain of hungry numbs and I had to figure out how to get food without getting caught. While all the kids were outside playing for recess I would go from classroom to classroom pulling out one thing from each kids lunch and put it in my lunch. I had to be so careful and after a week would go to the next grades classrooms and start again. I never did it from the kids in my grade.
As I got older I couldn’t do that anymore when I moved to a differnt part of the school so I would borrow money from the Librarian to buy food. Eventually one of my school friends her mom would buy me lunch tickets to have a hot meal at school. Her daughter kept the tickets for me and at least everyday while school was on I would be able to eat. When you are so hungry all the time, school and learning is something that is impossible. Concentrating on anything is awful so I used to just fool around and not pay attention ever. I picked fights with all the kids and goofed off in school and was known to be a troublemaker. No I was just hungry. Not one teacher I had ever knew I was starving.
Others ways I got food was the lady who lived across the street would pick me up with her son and on those days she always had been grocery shopping and while she went inside her house I would load up her food into my backpack and go home and eat. I believe that she knew something was really wrong over at my house and that is why she did that. I’m very thankful for her. I also tried stealing at local grocery store until I got caught and my dad beat the crap out of me. That ended that. I did find out later that my brother would go in the store and grab lots of bags and fill the bags up in the isles and walk out of the store. I should have teamed up with him.
It’s amazing how when one is hungry your survival skills kick into place. I hated to steal but without food I would have died. One crappy meal a day would not have been enough. My hardest times were summers they were long not allowed out at all. Sometimes but rarely my dad would let me out of my bedroom to eat something before my stepmom would be back.
While kids were out being kids I was surviving this cruel world. I may not be good at sports or other activities, but I do have amazing survival skills. Thank you God for helping me survive from hunger. I no longer have to worry about where my next meal comes from, but as we have read at the beginning people and children are still hungry everyday. We can reach out and help.
This is Rosa my sponsor child from Guatemala I sponsor her so she can go to school, eat and whatever she needs. I sponsor her through Hope of Life International. It’s an amazing organization and once a month she gets money to help her grow and learn. I have also volunteered at the food bank 850,000 people go each month to the food bank to get food for their families. How can you help with people being hungry?
This story about pheonix touched my heart so much and when I first went to the ranch I related to this horse so much for how it had been treated.
Thanks for reading. Be Blessed today.