Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fasting by Choice

This afternoon I scurried around at school, putting together sub plans in preparation for my absence tomorrow. I'll be spending the day tomorrow at the synagogue, observing the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. In order to better focus on prayer, Jews around the world have already begun fasting, denying themselves food and drink for over twenty five hours, from sunset tonight until after nightfall tomorrow.

Tonight my family ate a lovely, local meal with friends to celebrate the beginning of Yom Kippur. If one is fasting, having a satisfying meal the night before the fast is essential. Adults who are fasting are going into the fast prepared.

But being hungry doesn't always begin with a big meal. For those who live with food insecurity, hunger may be a constant instead of the exception. This is an issue close to me, because although my school serves healthy breakfasts, fresh fruit and vegetable snacks, and amazing hot lunches, many families in the community struggle to bring enough food into their homes to round out the rest of the meals. So it seems appropriate to give a shout out to Hunger Free Vermont. This organization assists schools in establishing hot lunch and breakfast programs, teaches cooking classes to low-income adults and at-risk teens, provides grants to childcare centers and after school programs, and much, much more. This is certainly not the only organization in our small state serving hungry families, but it is one with many programs in place to meet the needs of hungry children.

Around the world and across Vermont, people won't be eating tomorrow. For Jews this is by choice, but for too many others, it is an unfortunate way of life that lasts longer than twenty five hours.

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