250,000 Idahoans have to make choices between food and paying bills. It isn't just me and it isn't you either.
I've had the privilege of speaking out against issues of poverty for many years. It all started with the Idaho Foodbank and a Service Learning course at Boise State. My advocacy has grown over the years to include Feeding America too. You'll hear more about my story in the videos below.
I don't share my story to glorify myself. It is hard to stand up and say, "I've struggled. I'm still struggling." Speaking out against issues of poverty and hunger is not something I like to do or ever thought I would do.
I do it out of love and caring.
I love my home. Idaho is a beautiful place but it is a hard place to make a living. I used to think there was something wrong with me, something in my character that kept me from achieving financial security. It is not just me. About one fifth of this state's citizens live in poverty. It is estimated that almost one in six people are food insecure--250,000 Idahoans.
I share my story because if we don't talk about these issues we can't change them. I share my story because I want people to know they aren't alone. I share my story in the hopes that I can open minds--the poor are not poor by choice; it is usually a set of circumstances that keep them mired in poverty. I speak out on these issues because Idaho is wonderful in many ways, but caring for its poor and vulnerable isn't a high priority.
In my home we often say,"Sharing is caring." The Idaho Foodbank has shared not only food with me but has opened my eyes to the fact that I am not alone in my struggles; it's systemic. I've shared. I hope I've started a conversation and I care.
We cannot change that which we don't acknowledge.