Hunger isn’t just a feeling in one’s stomach – it can be the want of many things. We asked our youth about their experience with hunger, and here are their replies.


Hunger is the feeling that you get when you are hungry for food. It can also be interpreted as a “hunger” for something not related to food, such as a hunger for sleep. In Fresno, there are many families that have hunger for finding a job to support their families. Because of the recent recession and economy, families are unable to feed their families and pay for bills.

At home, my parents cook for me and my siblings. Everyone goes to school and when we come back; my mom would have supper ready for us. Our food is usually bought at Foods Co, Asian supermarkets, and grown from our backyard. We always buy things in bulk and always at a reasonably cheap price. There are times when I eat slow and times when I eat fast due to how hungry I am. Sometimes I’ll just eat stuff slow because I’ve already eaten and just wanna snack. The food that really reminds me of home is rice with chicken broth. My family raises chicken in our backyard so that we can easily have a source of food to have around.

For me, I usually eat at school and at home. There are times where I would go eat out at a fast food restaurant because I was really hungry and I knew there wouldn’t be any food left at home for me when I got there. I haven’t really experienced being hungry in a while. I remember when I was younger, my parents would leave to other cousin’s gatherings and me and my younger siblings would be home alone for two days at most. We could eat chips and snacks around the house but never really cook because there wasn’t anything there to cook. We would survive on junk food. I can also remember when I ate so much at a buffet because it was the first time I had ever been to a place where I could eat all I wanted.

Bao Xiong


About a year ago, I had throat surgery. I didn’t think it would hurt as much as it did. When I came out of surgery, I didn’t feel any pain, but a couple of hours into recovery my pain went from being tolerable to being unbearable.

I told my mom and she tried to do everything but due to problems at the pharmacy, I didn’t have my pain medicine. Unfortunately it was a Friday and during the weekend the pharmacy was closed, so I had to wait until Monday came around.

During that whole weekend I was miserable. First and most importantly, I was hungry and thirsty. I was in so much pain that breathing and swallowing was hard, let alone swallowing any liquid or solid food. I was so hungry. I had never felt such hunger as I did those five days.

I thought about how people that had to go through that constantly did it. I was feeling so weak, I could barely get up alone. I would be in bed for almost the whole day. I had headaches and I was so dizzy that at one point I remember thinking I’ll just go to sleep and maybe I would forget. I didn’t understand how some people did that everyday. My moms tried giving me liquid food, like soups but I didn’t want it. I remember that since I hadn’t had anything in days that even my body had forgotten how to take in the food. When I tried eating, I remember that the taste of food was weird, and my body seemed to want to reject it. I then thought that maybe that’s how people overcame hunger – that their bodies because accustomed to too little or no food that when they tried to eat, it was weird or their bodies didn’t really want it anymore.

When I was finally able to eat solid and real food, I felt weird, but after eating a couple of meals, my body became accustomed to eating again and it didn’t reject it anymore. I was so happy when I was fully recovered, and I was able to eat whatever I wanted. I still thought about all those people out there that still struggled though days with empty stomachs and it wasn’t because of a medical condition. That was only temporary. It was their life and they couldn’t help it.

Ellen Carretero


Due to a disorder, my eight year old little brother is always hungry. The only thing that nourishes his body is formulated milk that he doesn’t even get to taste. The only way we can feed him is through a tube that feed the milk straight to his stomach. His hunger for food can never be satisfied because it is a serious disorder in which he can’t eat anything through the mouth.

Education feeds me. Learning makes me feel satisfied. I will never be full. I am always hungry for more knowledge because there is no way you can learn everything.

Rice is essential in every meal. It doesn’t matter if it is always breakfast, lunch or dinner. Rice has become a big part of my diet because of my tradition and culture. It reminds me of home because I have been eating it my whole life.

I always feel really full when I step out of the buffet. I feel really hungry when I don’t eat at all for the whole day. The pace I eat at depends on the situation. If I’m in a rush to do something, then I would cram everything into my mouth in a glance. If time is on my side, then I take my time.

My food comes from my mom’s farm and the store. Most of the time we go to the store to buy meat and groceries, but whatever my mom has at the farm, we usually bring home to cook. Most of the time we cook at home to eat, but sometimes we would eat out. It’s easier and cheaper to cook at home so we do it a lot.

Vang Yang


The food that reminds me of home is cut down into three different categories: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My mom, to this day, is my own personal cook. The morning meal I remember eating and enjoying homemade refried beans, Spanish rice, eggs, and homemade tortillas with a glass of Kool-Aid. My siblings and I would wait to eat with each other and watch a movie, then thanking my mom greatly with hugs and kisses.

At lunch, I remember there were sandwiches – my mom’s sourdough bread, salami, turkey, ham, lettuce, tomato, and mozzarella cheese, olives, and wax pepper, mayonnaise and mustard sandwiches with a good soda.

Everybody had those on football Sundays, especially. Now dinner was simple, but the best: meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and Brussels sprouts with kool-aid. It’s simple but tastes so bomb. I would at least give myself 3 servings. My family would sit around, stuff ourselves, and talk about our days. We all knew my mom always put her love into her food and we enjoyed it. These meals bring me back to movie times in the morning at home, football Sunday at mom’s, and family talks at dinner. Oh what wonderful satisfaction I had after eating mom’s meals. Every meal has a memory stored away and these are mine.

Meme Garrido


When I hear the word hunger, it kind of hurts me in a way. It’s crazy because we’re in the Valley. Most of our food is produced here. I know as a country, we stand in a crisis with money, but there’s still that thought in my head – “Why?” I see kids I help in my neighborhood, begging for money to eat. Just for that second, it hurts just seeing them in that situation every day. I remember the struggle when I was young, but there was food to go around. But just looking now, there’s no promise of scraps of food to our pets.

Hunger is a huge problem in this time period. I know there’s a lot more problems, but I see food and hunger as number one. For example, how will we live without food? We can’t. Hunger is our natural habit. It’s gotten too crazy because you see kids having the need to buy their own food now.

Kevin Shelton

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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