Willingly Giving Up Food

Advocacy Ministries of the ELCA

Jodi Slattery Deike, director for grassroots advocacy and communication, ELCA Washington Office

I have only been fasting for a week, but have you noticed we are surrounded by food? It’s available for purchase on my commute to work, laying out in the kitchen at work, sold by street vendors and advertised on television constantly. Food is tempting us everywhere. It’s no wonder I struggle with my weight.

The point of my fasting, however, is not to lose weight. It’s to participate in a larger effort to bring awareness to federal budget cuts — cuts that would have a devastating impact on poor people everywhere. The sad part is that deep cuts to such non-discretionary spending will have little to no effect on balancing the budget.

I’ve never fasted before and I have learned through this discipline how much food controls me. I now better understand why someone might steal a piece of fruit from a street vendor just to have something in their stomachs to get them through the day.

Most of us can get three meals a day, even if the amount of food isn’t much, it’s more than some people. I can break my fast if I had to, but people who are hungry can’t just start eating again. They have to wait for enough money, an open food pantry or community kitchen to receive a meal.

Along with my fasting, most importantly, I’m praying. I’m praying for our government and our brothers and sisters everywhere who are struggling. I’m praying together, with God’s help, we can stop these proposed cuts that harm vulnerable people.

I encourage you to consider joining the fast in whatever way is most appropriate for you. Learn more at www.hungerfast.org.