What Is Hunger?
"For hunger is a curious thing: at first it is with you all the time, waking and sleeping and in your dreams, and your belly cries out insistently, and there is a gnawing and a pain as if your very vitals were being devoured, and you must stop it at any cost, and you buy a moment’s respite even while you know and fear the sequel. Then the pain is no longer sharp but dull, and this too is with you always, so that you think of food many times a day and each time a terrible sickness assails you, and because you know this you try to avoid the thought, but you cannot, it is with you. Then that too is gone, all pain, all desire, only a great emptiness is left, like the sky, like a well in drought, and it is now that the strength drains from your limbs, and you try to rise and you cannot, or to swallow and your throat is powerless, and both the swallow and the effort of retaining the liquid tax you to the uttermost."
Understanding hunger beyond a textbook definition is difficult if you have never seen or experienced it. The fear. The gnawing pain. The lengths you'd go to stop it.
Through Spend Yourself, we are attempting to understand what hunger means to a portion of the planet's 963 million hungry people. By empathizing with them, we hope to make a human and spiritual connection to a complex, global problem often clinically discussed in these terms:
- Hunger: the uneasy or painful sensation caused by the lack of food. Chronic hunger can lead to a weakened condition brought about by the prolonged lack of food.
- Food security: assured access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life, with no need for recourse to emergency food sources or other extraordinary coping behaviors to meet basic food needs.
- Food insecurity: lack of access to enough food to fully meet basic needs at all times due to lack of financial resources.
- Undernutrition: a condition resulting from inadequate consumption of calories, protein and/or nutrients to meet the basic physical requirements for an active and healthy life.
- Malnutrition: a condition resulting from inadequate consumption (undernutrition) or excessive consumption of one or more nutrients that can impair mental and physical health, and cause or be the consequence of infections and disease.
“And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the
hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will
rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”