If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
— Mother Teresa

So many of us are spoiled. We get angry when our phones aren't fast enough. We take umbrage at being stuck in traffic. We are mortified when our hair is a mess. We complain to a waiter when our food is too cold.

What a luxury.

We take the most basic necessity of life for granted. There is nothing we need more than food and water, and for far too many, this elemental requirement is lacking. Eighty-five thousand tons of food is thrown out in the United States every day, yet 49 million Americans struggle to put food on the table.


Forty-nine million. How can the gap between what is wasted and what is needed be closed? How could we possibly make a difference in one afternoon? How could anyone make a dent in such mindbogglingly huge numbers?

Fortunately, The Houston Food Bank has become jaw-droppingly efficient at feeding people in need. Tasked with providing nourishment to the fifth largest metropolitan population in the United States, they've become an impressive machine. Over 83 million meals are distributed to area residents annually. That breaks down to an average of over 227,000 each day. There are collecting, sorting, distributing, coordinating volunteers, and countless other parts to this organization, and they've got it down to a science.

In one afternoon, under the guidance of Serena (who's personality matched her bright-purple glitter eye shadow), a small group consisting of Tara, 12 other volunteers, and I managed to sort through 2,223 pounds of food which equates to 2,800 meals. In other parts of the facility, employees and other volunteers worked diligently to help put together meals for people in need. People like Serena. With a tremble in her voice, and tears in her eyes, she revealed that she was once homeless and hungry. She had relied on the very same organization she now works for to help her survive.

I can't help feed 49 million people. You can't either. But we can help feed at least one. If there are 49 million people lacking basic nutrition in the United States, that means there are 250 million of us that can help. Together we can make meaningful change. Donate. Volunteer. Do something. Do more.