Why I Advocateby Montgomery Area Food Bank on 09/04/14
By: Adam Powell
Tallassee Tribune/Eclectic Observer
When I was young, my family and I were not well-off. I was born with a liver disease which caused me to have a liver transplant at two-years-old and the ensuing medical expenses put quite a weight on our family. My father was working on an assembly line, with a commute of about an hour each day, and getting home around 4:30 every afternoon covered in grease and sweat. My mother was attending nursing school in an effort to make sure that all of my medical needs were addressed and understood, all while raising me and my brother and sister.
There were many nights that my father would suit up right after dinner to go hunting for deer, not for sport or enjoyment but because we couldn't afford store-bought meat. And, when we could, we’d have fish sticks and mac ‘n’ cheese, or Hamburger Helper or some other nutrition-limited, cost-effective cuisine. My parents worked hard for me and my siblings - we didn't get to go out to dinner a lot, we didn't get fashionable shoes or clothes, but we survived and we were loved. Eventually, my mother became a nurse and my father was promoted and things improved around the old Powell house, but looking back on those days I realize how we could have benefited from a little help.
Today, thousands of Americans are in the same boat that we were in - hard-working families that just aren't quite able to make ends meet. In some cases, parents are going without food just so they can feed their children, all while keeping up with the bills and rent and day-to-day expenses.
That’s why I promote, as much as I can, the efforts of the Montgomery Area Food Bank and their partner agencies. I've helped with fund-raisers and grand opening events, but mostly I try to spread their message through social media and daily interactions. And sometimes that’s the most valuable work, the work of sharing the message and vision of these groups who aim to help Americans fill their dietary needs and still be able to fill their financial responsibilities.
For single moms or parents with low-wage jobs, the Food Bank goes a long way to ensure these people have access to the things they need. While my online advocacy may not seem like much, it has helped people connect with these agencies and get the help they need. Sometimes people are unaware that an agency right down the street can help with their needs. Sometimes people just need to know where to go and how to contact an agency that is set up to help them through tough times.
I’m a husband and a father now and, thankfully, I have enough to feed my family and pay our bills, but I still appreciate the needs of those around me - the ones I may not even know are struggling. Advocacy is a large part of making sure people have what they need. By sharing a post, liking a page, commenting on a thread or just talking with one another about the extraordinary work that the Food Bank does, you may have the key to solving someone’s need. People aren’t always going to tell you when there’s a problem, they’re not always going to lament and complain, but they will take notice when they see that someone is working hard to make their life better.
The MAFB offers multiple programs to assist with every need out there, whether it’s the Senior Supplement program, the mobile pantries or any of their other efforts, where there is a need you will find the Food Bank working to fix it. All we have to do is use the one gift we were given at birth - our voice. By speaking up and speaking out, you may well be the savior that someone was looking for. All we have to do is pay attention, share and care and let the Food Bank take care of the rest.
Adam C. Powell is a staff writer for The Tallassee Tribune and Eclectic Observer. For the month of September he will be dedicating his column to hunger awareness for #HungerAction Month! He is a long-time advocate of the food bank and uses social media to 'Feed Hope Across Alabama'.
For more writings by Adam, be sure to check his WordPress page at tribunepowell.wordpress.com