Experiencing a Food Pantry

My name is Mary Medina. I am currently living in Watertown MA with two roommates. We are all YAV’s participating in a year of service through the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Our assigned sites vary to different parts of the Boston area. I have been working a the Burlington Food Pantry in Burlington MA for the past two months. Although I went into the year knowing my mind would be blown and my heart would break on a weekly basis it still didn’t prepare me for the things I would hear and see every day. What I’ve come to learn is that hunger in the US is very different from hunger in other places.  Hunger isn’t as obvious to see here. After reading many articles and watching many documentaries and TED Talks I’ve become very aware of what hunger is doing to our country. Every distribution day at the pantry I see everyday looking people walk in needing food. A Food pantry is what I would call us is an emergency short term assistance program. It’s not something designed to fix the problem because the problem isn’t food. We have way more than enough food to feed everyone here. The problem is money, it’s always money! But as soon as we begin to ask questions about why people don’t have enough money for food we get into political policies and debates on why we can’t come up with funding for school lunches because wall street needs to be bailed out again. Food pantries are necessary in order to directly aid individuals, however in order to solve the issue of hunger as a whole we need to take legislative action which is a much slower much more difficult way to help but is overall necessary. I love being a part of a program that has made it a priority to make things better. The food pantry in Burlington is doing great work and I’m so honored to be a volunteer there.