Hunger Feast: Experiential voyage in Tidewater

by | Jul 14, 2014 | Other News

Hardly a day goes by when I don’t hear a friend say, “I’m starving” because they haven’t eaten in a couple of hours. I am guilty of it, too. We use this term so lightly because true hunger seems like such a remote problem. We’ve seen the commercials of ‘people in need,’ we’ve heard of various famines, and, though many of us think it’s sad, it feels distant—these are problems that occur elsewhere. In fact, though, hunger is prevalent everywhere, even Tidewater.

As many as one in seven individuals in Tidewater are unable to provide themselves with a nutritious diet, and there are around 166,000 people who are considered food insecure. These people are unable to afford both food and the other essentials of daily life, and thus are forced to choose one above the other.

Luckily, in this community, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore provides aid. The Foodbank partners with many other organizations, such as Mobile Pantries and Kids Cafes, and serves as a central distribution site for these programs. Last year alone, the Foodbank was able to aid 390,000 individuals, 37% of whom were children. Although the Foodbank distributed 14.2-million meals in the last fiscal year, they hope to increase that number to 16.6-million annually by 2018.

Other organizations, such as Jewish Family Service, or JFS, are also making efforts to help the hungry. The JFS mission is to “provide a full spectrum of services that promotes quality of life within the philosophy and tradition of Judaism.” Last year, JFS provided services to approximately 2,700 individuals, with approximately 68% of the recipients non-Jewish.

While both the Foodbank and JFS are making valiant strides in helping the hungry, there is always more to be done. Next month, a diverse group of young Jewish students, under the leadership of James Madison University graduate Hannah Hofheimer Moss, are partnering with JFS to create Hunger Feast. This experiential event will serve as a hands-on expose on the difficulties hunger poses for many locally and around the world, and will provide an opportunity for members of the community to tangibly contribute to the effort through the creation of meal bags to be sent overseas.

With your help, we can ameliorate hunger both in our own community and throughout the world.

We would love to have you come support and participate in Hunger Feast at the Simon Family JCC on August 6 at 6 pm. We would also appreciate any financial support you can offer. Recognized giving levels range from Planter $100, Grower $250, Harvester $500, and Distributor $1000, though any donation would be greatly appreciated. Contributions should be mailed to: JFS, attn: Hunger Feast, 260 Grayson Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23462. For more information, email us at

Hunger is all around us. It pervades our community and the world we live in but you can help change that. Everyone can make a difference.

by Tom Moss