Here at NFESH during these past few weeks we have been celebrating a couple of notable “firsts.” Both of them are worthy of attention, but the two of them are not getting the same degree of notice. So we are going to take the liberty of changing that. In doing so we won’t follow the way of that familiar saying and present “first things first.” Instead we will reflect on the issues in a reverse order, placing the most important “first” second. Please indulge us as we explain.
Anyone in America who has been near a television in recent days knows that the Nation’s Capital has been in an almost constant state of celebration over a big sports first. That, of course, is the winning of the World Series by the city’s Major League Baseball team, the Washington Nationals. A World Series win –being number one among all the MLB teams — was a first for the Nats. What makes the accomplishment all the more rewarding is that just a few months before the Nats rose to the occasion they’d had the worst win-loss record in their division.
But things can change, and that is exactly what happened when the Nats came out fighting, as a team focused on working together to achieve the almost unimaginable. Those are facts well worthy of note because there is real hope in that. When and how do things change? Circumstances change when people and institutions change, that is, when they recognize a challenge, set a common goal to overcome it and then dedicate themselves to achieving together a success they can only imagine.
Most of us are familiar with the famous proverb that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. One. That is the important concept which Nationals’ Manager Davey Martinez drilled into the minds and hearts of his players daily. He told them all again and again that, as they faced the future they needed only to concentrate on one game. A win at a time. His strategy worked.
But now, back to that other “first” we mentioned, which has little to do with sports and everything to do with quality of life and the health and well-being of literally thousands of vulnerable seniors. The fight against senior hunger is no game. That is a message that NFESH has been expounding for years now. Not everyone has that opportunity to hear that message. But when people do, things change, because it can transform their thinking – and spur them to action. It has again. A new movement took off in Kentucky recently when NFESH’s CEO took to the podium as keynote speaker at the FIRST Kentucky ‘Senior Hunger Summit’ in Frankfort, KY, the State Capital, on October 30.
That first Summit was a big first step toward changing things in Kentucky. Shannon Gadd, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living, put it this way: “One of the things we want to hammer home with the hunger summit is that we have a problem, but we also have solutions.”
NFESH has developed some innovative solutions to what for so long has seemed and intractable problem. Those solutions are having a positive impact in states where we have worked and we are eager to partner others to begin implementing them. While the senior hunger rate in most other states may be lower than that in Kentucky, no State is immune to the problem. Not even one.
Just like in baseball, sometimes it takes a veteran “manager” who has been around the bases a few times, to hit things home. Winning in baseball or in the fight against hunger requires a team effort. But unlike in baseball you don’t have to wait to get drafted to play a major role. You don’t even need a bat, a glove, a uniform. All you need is inspiration and imagination and the will to win. That’s something that the audience in Frankfort came to know. It is something we all should. Senior hunger is one solvable problem that belongs to us all. And it is one message Enid Borden, our CEO, never tires of delivering.