I have a full wallet.
It contains three hair pins, a shopping list, three phone cards, my driver’s license, a credit card, and my metro pass. There’s money, too, of course. A whole 2 Euros and 80 cents.
I’m broke. As a college student, I accept my dismal financial situation. Luckily, mom and dad are generously helping me fund my European excursion, and I’m able to make ends meet.
Still, everything seems to revolve around money. It’s a perpetual source of relief, frustration, and inspiration. Think about all the hit songs written about money: The Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love,” Pink Floyd’s “Money,” but if I had to choose a theme song for this blog post, I’d choose “For the Love of Money” by the O’Jays (more commonly known to my generation as the theme song for Donald Trump’s TV show, “The Apprentice,” but I digress).
We’re peppered with mixed messaging. Earn it, spend it, save it, share it. It’s just a bunch of paper and metal, but, man, it’s attractive and demanding.
Yes, materialism is superficial, but money’s power is responsible for a lot of good, too. The World Food Programme is voluntarily funded, relying on donations from governments, corporations, and individuals.
If you’re reading my blog, chances are you’re a young, monetarily challenged individual just like me. Those of us who share this status understand its restrictions, and I’m guilty of dwelling on the “can’t”s associated with empty pockets.
Luckily for me and the rest of the 2-Euro-toting young people, enthusiasm and dedication do a lot in ways money can’t.
In this job, I encounter a lot of extraordinary people, many of whom can’t legally drive a car. Earlier this week, I met the under-18 winner of the hunger bytes! contest — he’s a 14-year-old whose striking, one-minute video calls for awareness of and action against world hunger. I receive letters and e-mails from students wanting to do school projects about hunger so they can teach their classmates about the pressing issue.
For each student who spreads the word, someone else realizes the gravity of hunger issues.
Money remains an important factor in our organisation’s success, but you can’t buy away hunger. Change takes passion. Progress requires dedication. From what I’ve seen, it’s the young people with a fiery attitude who make the world listen. A bold attitude commands more attention than a big wallet — in the wake of the disasters my generation has seen, I hope we maintain that strength.
Christine DiGangi is from Chicago and is interning with WFP Youth Outreach. She loves running, chocolate, and fighting hunger.