HARRISBURG, May 24 – Seeking to raise awareness and become the faces of hunger, state Reps. Jake Wheatley and Ed Gainey, both D-Allegheny, plan to go without anything to eat or drink from sunrise until sunset for the entire month of June – and are issuing the same Hunger Challenge to their House and Senate colleagues.
Wheatley and Gainey also plan to log the approximate cost of the daily sustenance they forego, then donate that amount to hunger relief organizations in their respective 19th and 24th legislative districts.
“This sacrifice will allow us to experience some of the pains felt by those in our communities – and there are more of them than you think – who struggle with food insecurity,” Wheatley said. “Representative Gainey and I have decided to lend not just words, but our actions to bring attention to this problem.”
Gainey said that in addition to being a great cause, issuing and participating in the legislative Hunger Challenge during the month of June coincides with the tough decision-making that accompanies shaping the state budget due June 30.
“For those who think that we in Harrisburg too often make decisions that have little bearing on ourselves, this challenge presents an opportunity to show that we, as elected officials, are willing to personally experience and gain understanding of a problem,” Gainey said. “If your belly’s always full, you’ll never really understand what it’s like to go hungry. We’re willing to experience that feeling – and we’re asking our colleagues to do the same.”