Skip to content

Hunger Blog

Hunger Is …

September is Hunger Action Month, and it reminds us that hunger is complex and often misunderstood. In Hawaii, the face of hunger is not always what we think.

We’re all familiar with that feeling of being hungry — that clawing reminder that we should probably find something to eat. Our stomachs rumble, we feel tired and we may even have trouble concentrating. For most of us, though, hunger is a very temporary sensation. It’s a nuisance, sure, but it’s easily satisfied and quickly forgotten.

But, for the 1 in 8 people in Hawaii who live with food insecurity, hunger is anything but a temporary sensation. It isn’t easily satiated, and it certainly isn’t forgettable.

For them, hunger is persistent. It’s painful, paralyzing and, oftentimes, imperceptible.

Hunger is … more than meets the eye.

Close your eyes. Imagine someone who is hungry. Try and conceptualize hunger. What comes to mind?

For many of us, we might see a picture of a weathered, outreached hand on the side of the street. Maybe we see humble words scattered across a withered piece of cardboard. These are tragic images that come to mind, yet they quickly fade in our rearview.

As we’re given the green light, this image of hunger becomes distant. It turns abstract. It’s ambiguous.

Now, let’s open our eyes and take a look around us. You see, hunger is transforming.

"Hunger in Hawaii has a face — and it's a familiar one. It's hidden, but it's close."

Hunger is … the highest cost of living.

According to a recent 24/7 Wall St. study of what it costs to live in America’s most expensive cities, the cost of living in Hawaii is nearly 25 percent higher than the national average. With grocery prices here higher than anywhere else in the nation, it’s no surprise that the ripple effect of hunger is pervasive.

Accordingly, many are left making challenging food choices — and it’s not just the stranger on the street.

Hunger is growing. It’s no longer in the distance, and it’s not just an abstract horizon. In Hawaii, hunger is much more than a faceless figure passing by.

Hunger is … our sweet, old auntie.

Hunger in Hawaii has a face — and it’s a familiar one. It’s hidden, but it’s close.

Hunger is our gentle auntie across the street. You know, the one who’s known us since before we were born. Our auntie who fed us fresh mango from her tree. The one who always had butter mochi and crack seed for us. She’s now the same auntie who humbly lives on a fixed income. She foregoes food to pay for her medication. She’s struggling — but she’s worked too hard to ask for help now.

Hunger is our best friend. You know, the one who used to come over after school while her parents closed up the family restaurant. She’s now a first generation college student who’s always worked hard but couldn’t quite get that scholarship. She’s the one who attends class all day, waits tables at night and eats the same, tired package of ramen before bed. She’s the one who can’t possibly let her parents know she’s hungry — not after they’ve worked their hands raw to provide a better life for her.

Hunger is generation after generation sandwiched beneath a single roof. It’s a dad working multiple jobs to take care of his aging parents while still ensuring there’s enough food for his three keiki. It’s a single mom spending restless nights going to sleep on an empty stomach — making sure her son gets all the food in the house. It’s a shy kid who tells his classmates he “forgot” to bring his lunch to school again.

Hunger is … healable.

Hunger is so many things here in Hawaii. Hunger is shame. Hunger is pride. Hunger is quiet dignity masked behind a brave smile. Hunger is making sure no one else around you knows that you’re hungry.

Amidst all these things, let’s hold on to this: hunger is still healable.

September is Hunger Action Month, Feeding America’s annual campaign to bring attention to the reality of food insecurity. Its goal is to promote ways to get involved in the movement to end hunger. It reminds us that, together, we can heal hunger — one helping at a time.

One helpful hand. One helpful heart. One helping of food at a time. It all adds up to make a difference for our sweet auntie across the street, our childhood best friend and so many others in our hungry ‘ohana.

Whether you volunteer, donate or share on social media — our actions can help bring a hopeful smile to the face of hunger in Hawaii.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur Excepteur sint occaecat. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur Excepteur sint occaecat.

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.”

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur Excepteur sint occaecat.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur Excepteur sint occaecat. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

Sign Up for Email Updates

Submit the form below to receive email messages from Hawaii Foodbank. You’ll get the latest news updates, event information, volunteer opportunities, stories from our communities and much more.