Hunger could be happening to the kid next door. It could be happening two cubicles down from you. It’s everywhere, and yet it’s invisible. To look at me, you’d never guess I grew up hungry.
One in five kids in Western Washington faces hunger every day, and I was one of them. Back in the nineties, food stamps came in a little checkbook of vouchers. My mom used to give me a five-dollar voucher to pick out my favorite fruits and to teach me how to interact with the cashier at checkout.
From a very young age, I was well aware of what poverty looked and felt like. Skipping school field trips that required a ten-dollar fee. Not joining sports in high school because of the costs involved. Not inviting my friends for sleepovers because there wouldn’t be snacks. I never brought these things up. I didn’t want to burden my mom. When your fridge is empty, fun falls by the wayside. And kids internalize poverty and hunger in ways that can follow them for a lifetime.
That’s one of the reasons I came to Food Lifeline. I wanted to do something. As the voice of Food Lifeline’s social media channels, and as a writer and editor for this organization, my experience with hunger touches everything I do. You might not know it, it might be invisible, but it’s there, making a difference in its own small way.
Victoria Austin, Marketing and Communications Manager from 2017-2019, shared her story and many others on Food Lifeline’s social media, blog posts, and in the local media.