Grace Steinman: You, too, can help fight hunger

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 17, 2015

By Grace Steinman

Special to the Salisbury Post

My dad is all about adventure. From as far back as I can remember, we have hiked, biked, canoed, climbed, skied, and anything else he could think of to get us moving.

On family vacations, we have visited more than 17 national parks. On these vacations I gained an appreciation for the environment and a love for the outdoors. He has taught me to love freeze-dried food (not really), to be a minimalist, and to appreciate good hiking boots.

My dad and brother are both Eagle Scouts, so following the scouting tradition I joined the coed version of Boy Scouts called Venture Scouts. The pinnacle of my experience was an 80-mile backpack trek to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico, during the summer of 2013. Over a 12-day span, we carried all our supplies on our backs, filled our water bottles with stream water, and rarely showered. I learned that I could do without so many things, including electricity and my phone. I won’t lie, it was hard. And sometimes I really wanted to go home. But I made it, and I consider it one of the most challenging yet rewarding things I have ever done in my life.

One of the life lessons I have taken away from Philmont was an appreciation for food. Food on the trail was scarce and water was not always readily available. When we returned home and were able to eat anything at any time, I realized that eating is a luxury not everyone is able to experience.

That fall as a freshman at Salisbury High School, I was able to put the life lesson I learned at Philmont to practical use. I started a food program modeled after Food for Thought, a program that provides food to elementary and middle school students on the weekends during the school year. Each Friday during lunch I packed backpacks with food, and the guidance counselor helped deliver them to identified students.

I also researched local hunger for my senior project and realized that there is a huge hunger problem right here in Rowan County. 29.2 percent of children in Rowan County live in poverty and have a lack of food.

I hope this service project will continue after I graduate and that maybe other high schools in the county will start similar programs. You, too, can help fight hunger by donating food or by serving food to those in need. Together, we can make a difference for the hungry, right here in Salisbury.

Grace Steinman is a senior at Salisbury High School.