From ATH Advisory Board and Marketing Committee member Mike Zakoura: “Help me to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.” That is a prayer said each day for our dog, but it has much broader implications.

It certainly means the silent sentient being.

It can mean to speak for those who have no voice, in your community, your country, the world.

It can mean whatever you want.

On this page, in this space, I want to speak for those who lack enough food. Those who are hungry.

This is not having supper at 8 o’clock instead of at 6, or skipping lunch. It means not knowing from where your next meal is coming, or its quality, or its quantity, or whether it will come at all.

When you are hungry, you don’t think about getting an education, work, helping others. You think about food, and that you are hungry.

What goes first when you don’t have food? Medicine? Utilities? The rent? No, food.

These words ask you to speak for someone who is hungry by working for or giving to an organization where I volunteer –After The Harvest.

The motto of this nonprofit is healthy food for hungry people. The group is more commonly known as a gleaning organization. As such, volunteers go into farm fields to harvest sometimes less than beautiful-looking but tasty and nutritious fruits and vegetables, donated by generous farmers, your neighbors.

Beyond that, the organization pays shipping and freight costs to bring in truckloads of donated produce that might otherwise go to waste. As a matter of fact, After the Harvest is the second largest food donor and largest produce donor to Kansas City’s food bank, Harvesters.

I call on elected officials, candidates for office and the Average Joe, to work, away from the cameras and the microphones, in a farm field, in a food pantry or on a food service line, to try to understand what some people experience every minute, hour, day, week–hunger.

If you have been there, you will never forget it.

If your prayer is to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, well…