“In my time at the Houston Food Bank, I’ve seen the best of what this place can do.”
– Arden Duhon
When I received an offer to join the Houston Food Bank family as a summer intern, I saw it for only part of what it actually was: I saw the opportunity to learn more about communications, to practice journalism in real life. It was also an opportunity to serve the people of Houston and be a part of one of the most far-reaching non-profit organizations in America. What I didn’t understand is that it was an opportunity to find new love and appreciation for the city I had called home for the past eight years. I didn’t understand that the Houston Food Bank would help me better recognize my place in the world, and how I can use the privilege that I too often take for granted, to help give others a platform for their voice.
As someone who has never had to worry about where my next meal was coming from, it was sometimes difficult to comprehend the harsh reality of hunger in America. It was hard to wrap my head around the numbers, and even harder to confront how much hunger can affect an individual person. It was remarkable to see how a few bags of groceries could help ease the uncertainty and anxiety of stretching a monthly budget to accommodate groceries. How valuable nutrition can improve a child’s ability to focus and motivate them to do well in school. How a community comes together to support one another without reserve or judgement. My coworkers at the food bank were some of the most positive and friendly people I’ve met, never hesitating to give their all to serve a purpose greater than themselves. In my time at the Houston Food Bank, I’ve seen the best of what this place can do. I’ve seen teachers get choked up to receive extra supplies that they don’t have to pay for out of their own pockets, a college student breathing a sigh of relief that she doesn’t have to worry about buying her food after her apartment was robbed, the bright smile of a mother who now has some fresh fruit to feed her family. I think in our careers, it’s easy for people to get wrapped up in projects and deadlines and checking each task off the metaphorical list, but these little moments in time represented to me the bigger impact this organization has on people. It was extremely humbling, in the most incredible way.
Today, I look at things a little differently. I remember to look up and make sure to smile at the people who pass me by, because a little positivity goes a long way. I remember not to make assumptions about people, because there is always more to the picture than I can see at first glance. I remember to appreciate every bite of my meal, because there are few resources so precious as food, and so taken for granted. Because of the Houston Food Bank, I move through life with more gratitude, and more awareness for how I can use what I have to give back to someone else. As much as I’ve been filled through my experience, it has made me more eager for opportunities to do more, and change more. And that, I think, is the best kind of hunger.
By: Arden Duhon