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Featured Blog Post #7: Same beginning, different outcomes

By Vincent Mecca, senior communication arts major

For this week’s blog entry, I am going to stray off from an informational post to a personal and emotional piece inspired by an encounter I had during my hunger research.

While researching hunger, my group (Social Stigma and Stereotypes) visited the St. Francis of Assisi Soup Kitchen in Scranton, PA.  We were encouraged by staff to sit down with strangers and have a meal with them and listen to their stories.

Unfortunately, the table I sat at did not have people willing to talk to me very much.  From what many of them were talking about, each and every one of them was in some kind of struggle.  Curse words and nasty phone calls were made while I was sitting with them, as well as derogatory comments from one gentlemen to a woman.

Amongst all this, I locked eyes with a girl for a moment, and then looked away.  Moments later, she approached my table, and I could now see her clearer as she greeted someone sitting at my table.  I could see she appeared to be pregnant, but more shockingly; I knew her.

The girl said “Hi, you look familiar.” And I agreed.  We figured out that we had both attended the same high school, only she didn’t graduate as I had.

The juxtaposition of us two grown-up high school students was heartbreaking when I thought about it.

  1. We had both attended the same high school
  2. Received the same education
  3. Grew up in the same vicinity

But her outcome was that she was at the soup kitchen receiving aid…while I was looking to assist the soup kitchen.

How did our lives end up so much differently? It brought me to the heartbreaking realization that regardless of where you start out, everyone is susceptible to becoming food insecure.

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About Lindsey Wotanis

Assistant professor of communication arts. Lover of writing, YouTube, and peanut butter.

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