Washington DC: Hunger in America Day 5

Posted on: Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Day Five: Wednesday May 22. This was a pretty big day for us, and a long one. It was a great day because we got to experience two very different but related approaches to tackling the issue of hunger in America, starting the day in suits and ties and exchanging them for plastic aprons and hairnets in the evening. We spent the morning and afternoon at the Capitol. We received a tour from staff members of Bill Flores' office, and then went for lunch at Tortilla Coast (which we were told was put in close to the capitol at the request of George H. W. Bush, as he was displeased by the lack of texmex when he was in office), which was good but nothing special. Wednesday happened to be a ridiculously hot and humid day, and of course we had to be dressed in our most professional outfits (which required opaque tights for me to cover the tattoo on my leg), so it was kind of unpleasant walking around from the House to the Senate back and forth, but discomfort is a small price to pay for the great experience we had, to advocate directly to those with the ability to create legally authorize change! I enjoy the Capitol building; this was my second time touring (first was freshman year in '07! fun fact- I also once did a photo shoot outside the building, like where I was in the photos; super random).

After lunch we walked over to the Senate quarters, to meet with members of Senator Ted Cruz's staff. When we walked in to the hallway leading to his offices, we came upon a large group of protesters and media, protesting the Senator's stance on immigration reform. It was quite the scene, and we weren't sure what to do, but made our way through the crowd (which felt disruptive and awkward, but we had an appointment), which shortly after dispersed with police assistance. Jordan spoke for our group, and we were in and out pretty quickly (you don't get a lot of time for these meetings). We then had some time before our scheduled photo op with Bill Flores, so we went back to the House building, and in various assorted groups visited offices of several student's representatives. You can just drop by, talk to the staff quickly and leave them some information, did you know? I really enjoyed that, and maybe accidentally took the "For Congressmen Only" elevator two times. We then walked back over to the Capitol (across the street. The building where the House offices are is connected to the Capitol via underground tunnels), as a House session was letting out, and met with Bill Flores. The plan was to just take a few quick photos, but he had a some time so we were able to speak to him directly, instead of the planned meeting with his staff afterwards. You can read a little bit more about that meeting in this post.
yeah, I took pictures of the Senate and House trashcans, what of it

After that, we returned to the church to quickly change gears (and clothes) and went to work for the evening at DC Central Kitchen. We first learned a little bit about their comprehensive approach to the hunger issue. I like that they are very aware that hunger is not an isolated problem, but rather comorbidly found with issues such as education, incarceration, wealth gaps, civil inequality and poverty (to name a few). As a result of this view, they offer a lot of different services and work to address the issue by more than just providing meals, but empowering and rebuilding as well. You can read up more about them here. After our chat we put on aprons, hairnets, took off our rings and earrings, and chopped green bell peppers for a few hours. Well, that's what I did; others chopped turnips (which I hear was challenging) and did a couple other tasks in the kitchen. I'll tell you, I probably won't cut a bell pepper another way for the rest of my life (muscle memory). The food we were preparing was for the next days meal. After working, and only a few minor knife-related injuries, we ate dinner at the kitchen and headed back "home" for the night.

Day 1 & 2
Day 3
Day 4

- From the desk of Mrs. M


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