I’ve worked for Campus Kitchen for nearly a decade and it suits me. I love the students—they are my kind of people. Roll-up sleeves, haul-huge-bags-of-food, stay-late-to-clean-up, take-out-the-trash-at-the-end-of-the-night kind of people. The Campus Kitchen volunteers and student leaders are ones who know that each meal individually cannot solve the problems of hunger and environmental sustainability, but that if each of us does a share, over thousands of shifts and 65 kitchens across the network, that we are making a significant difference in the lives of our clients and the good of our communities. Campus Kitchen students do it because they are the do-ers, the ones who get going and act when others are overwhelmed or dispirited about the scope of the problem.
Voting for me is the civic equivalent of Campus Kitchen activity. Some people craft their public images with the stances they take, how vigorously they argue online, who they like and retweet, but only 40% of the population (20% of millennials and post-millennials) typically take concrete action and vote in midterm elections. Voting is a pain. You have to make time, find out where to go, verify that you’re properly registered, research the candidates, stand in line, and if voting absentee it can be even more complicated. There’s no recognition, it’s a private (to me, sacred) moment in the ballot booth. It is like staying late to take out the trash at the kitchen when everyone else has left.
Is the world changed because of that one act? Does one individual vote typically change an outcome? No, but the collective action of us all voting is essential to our society. Hunger fighters win our battle against hunger and hopelessness one meal at a time and one vote at a time.
Photo: Jenny canvassing in her community to get out the vote.
Written by: Jenny Bird
Jenny is the Regional Program Specialist for the Central region based in St. Louis, MO.