Meals on Wheels

On Tuesday the Cedar Rapdis Meals on Wheels were packed and delivered by staff and students from the college.  I originally offered to take one of the shifts packing meals, but switched to meal delivery when the organizers indicated that they needed additional people in that role.  It was not my best morning — I could not get outside my own head to focus on the moment I was in.  I did not have a delivery partner, I didn’t know the area into which my delivery route took me, I killed the college car’s battery at my first delivery stop (it was a Prius and I forgot to put it into park AND left the headlights on so it couldn’t recharge), I felt rushed by my agenda later in the day.  It was raining and I didn’t have an umbrella.

After the first couple of stops, that all receded and it finally sunk in that most of my delivery recipients were elderly single women.  I started to wonder about their lives — not only what their days are now, but also their pasts.  Had they been married?  Had they gone to college? Did they have children?  What were they like at 18 or at my age, 48?  I could not escape the conclusion that, like me, they had lived lives holding both tears and laughter.  Nor that I, like them, might someday find myself relying on strangers for my daily bread.     

Should that happen, I would count myself lucky to be living in a community with a Meals on Wheels program.  Meals on Wheels is the most well-known organization dedicated to preventing elder hunger.  Check out their website at  They have pledged to end senior hunger by 2020, an ambitious goal.

I’d like to thank the college staff communciation committee, particularly my friends Colette and Sarah, who planned our service day with Meals on Wheels.  Thanks to that opportunity, I am happy to make Meals on Wheels the first organization on our donation “ballot”.


Here we are, officially Day 1 of the Hunger Challenge.  My lack of technical expertise served me well this morning in that I was so focused on figuring out HOW to upload the weigh-in photo that I wasn’t able to spare thought for the fact that I was about to PUBLISH my actual weight!

After sending the email explaining my plan, I spent the week hearing from people and receiving offers of support.  Our current pledges stand at $15 per pound I lose, and I thank everyone who has pledged their financial support for this challenge!  I want, also, to thank all of you for the emotional support you’ve offered.  I have been truly touched by your willingness, whether pledging or not, to help make this a successful venture.  Because I have been asked by a couple of people, I want to reiterate that you are all welcome to share this with anyone you think may be interested in either contributing to the pledge or following our progress. 

Please note that in the sidebar of this blog page are additional pages titled: Hunger Challenge and, beneath that Weight Log.  If you click on either of these, you will navigate to other pages (Hunger Challenge is a brief explanation for anyone who doesn’t wish to read the entire blog to find out what we’re doing; Weight Log will list the weekly weights).  I plan to add both a page listing sponsors and one listing organizations which will be included in the final vote to receive our donation at the end of the Challenge. 

Because this update is more about informational details than anything else, I haven’t included much personal reflection, nor have I profiled an organization.  I will be adding a post sometime later this weekend to avoid making this post unbearably long!  In the meantime, enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday — and know that my heart is full of gratitude for the many gifts I have received — especially for each of you and your loving support.


Tonight, Sunday November 22, 2009, I sent the following email to friends and family. 

Dear Friends and Family:

I am grateful every day for the many gifts in my life: my health, my work, the wonderful people with whom I share my days.  But as we approach Thanksgiving each year, I am troubled by the clear disparity between those of us planning to overindulge throughout the holiday season and those in our communities for whom merely having enough is a daily struggle.

This year I want to do something very personal to combat hunger, and I am writing to enlist your participation.

As you know, I have struggled with my own relationship with food most of my life.  What I am proposing is to spend the time between Thanksgiving and Easter working to lose weight, studying and learning more about how to eradicate hunger, and raising money for an organization which combats hunger in the U.S.

I lose the weight, learn and share via this blog, and you, if you are so inclined, sponsor my weight loss.

Here’s how it will work:

1.  Sponsors pledge a certain amount of money for each pound I lose between November 28, 2009 and April 4, 2010. I am pledging $3 per pound or $300,whichever is greatest — however, you may choose any amount to pledge per pound lost.  I picked these dates because I see these holidays as being very food-centered.

2.  Each Thursday, I will weigh in and upload a photo of the weight read-out on my scale. I will also share both my own stories about this challenge, and information on hunger and hunger relief organizations.  I hope you will choose to visit and comment on my blog, whether you choose to be a sponsor or not.

3.  In March, all sponsors will have the opportunity to vote on which profiled organization will receive our combined donation.  Simple majority rules. I would like to list sponsors on this site, though amounts will remain private — except for the total amount raised which I will share on Easter.

4. While I am sent this email to a select group, please feel free to forward it to anyone else you think may be interested or wish to sponsor.  Sponsors may join at any time right up to Easter, however, all sponsorships should cover the total weight lost.

I feel a little nervous about putting this commitment out into the ethernet because my track record with weight loss is not stellar AND because it is way more public than just about anything else I’ve ever done!  But I am also very aware that anything we accomplish together will be more than I would be able to do alone.

If you choose to sign on as a sponsor, please email or comment with your pledge.  If you choose not to, or cannot, pledge please do not feel any pressure or obligation.  However, do feel free no matter what to offer your prayers and support, both are much needed and appreciated.

Thank you for considering this request.