Pay It Forward Merit Badge, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,518 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—7,653 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

For this week’s Farm Kitchen/Pay it Forward Merit Badge, I had to channel my inner camel. What’s that, you say? You know, that humpy, lumpy, dumpy animal that can go for days without food? Or is that water? Well, whatevs, my dears—I’m no zoologist. I just know to earn my badge this week, I was going to do a little math and do a little fast. (See what I did there? Made a poem.)

Anyway, the math came in when I did a rough calculation of about how much it costs to feed Yours Truly on a weekly daily hourly (ahem) basis. It takes a lot of fuel to keep this much cuteness going, in my defense. Then from there, I got to take that amount (from one meal) and donate it to my local food bank, and—get this—skip that meal myself.


I’m not very good with skipping meals, I confess. I get a little shaky, a little grouchy, a little panicky.

In short, it’s a good thing it’s Halloween season, cuz if I find a broom, I may be riding it around my house shortly.

But it’s just one meal, Janie my girl, I tell myself, you can do this. I am woman, hear me roar.

Or whisper for a cracker, whatever the case may be.

But to my surprise, that didn’t happen at all. Fasting for a cause was nothing like forgetting to eat breakfast! Maybe it was because I was doing it for a reason, maybe it was because I wasn’t focused on myself so much, maybe it was because I had the Trucker’s Omelet Special that morning … but I didn’t even miss it. It was a miracle! I felt really good (except for the gravy-smothered hash browns, which were totally not loving me back).

Each time I got a little hungry, a little tummy-growling action, a little persnickety, I stopped and thought: Too many people go through this feeling (times a hundred) every day. I patted my stomach and told it to simmer down, and it did. Obedient little belly have I.

By dinner time I was, of course, slightly on the famished side, and I wouldn’t say I was at my best, personality wise, but still, I had gone without and learned something in the process:

  • how to help my local food bank (more on that with Level Two of this Merit Badge)
  • how to be aware of and lower my own food budget
  • the meaning of this word:

Hangry: hang-ree, adj. A state of anger due to a lack of food, causing irritability and a negative change in an emotional state.



  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I confess I do not really know what gnawing hunger feels like. Yes, I have skipped meals or tried fasting for a reason, but the entire time I was doing that, there was food in my kitchen waiting. Imagine what despair would be present if there was nothing in the kitchen and no hope for anything soon. If I ever get wrapped up in my own pity party, just thinking about real hunger in both our community and the world is a jolt back to reality. Humbling. Truly humbling!!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Interesting topic. Just recently I started re-reading one of my favorite books about old school medicine. In this book the author talks about how he treated certain sickness’ & how quite often he would recommend fasting as a key remedy to recovery.

    Long before television shows began airing about how to survive in the wilderness without food for a few days came about there were books & literature (i.e., the bible) which testified to the benefits & reality of fasting.

    Since my early years I have on more than one occasion (and admittedly not always for altruistic reasons) enjoyed or endured~depending on the circumstance~a few days of fasting. After a fast I usually feel lighter (not really exclusive to body density but more of spirit).

    For whatever reason someone chooses or is forced to fast, the fasting itself can be an enlightening (no pun intended;-) experience….but I would not recommend it for everyone especially the very young, elderly or frail…but sadly, those in need are most often the ones who do without.

    You may want to keep an eye on your blood sugar MaryJane (if you decide to fast again). I worked with a girl who had low blood sugar when we were young. She appeared to be in perfect health until she suddenly fainted one day out of the blue. Apparently she had forgotten to eat breakfast; then told us she needed a quick jolt of sugar & asked for orange juice. The OJ seemed to help her immediately?

    Good topic.

    • Karlyne says:

      Orange juice is generally recommended as the quickest remedy for blood sugar issues, especially for diabetics whose blood sugar has plummeted. I’m not sure if this is because it’s so readily available, or if it’s just loaded with sugar for a quick fix!

  3. I did student teaching in an elementary school. When I took over the classroom I noticed a little girl who sat up front always asking when is it lunch time. I couldn’t get her to concentrate on anything in the classroom, no matter what the subject was. She was always distracted. I worried about her both scholastically and emotionally. She also wore the same clothing, smelled foul and rarely had her hair combed. I went to the school nurse. She investigated by going to the child’s home. There was no food in the cupboard or in the fridge. Her mother was developmentally disabled and had no clue about feeding, cleaning or dressing her kids. She had had some help in the past but had been abandoned by whoever was helping. Our school nurse went into immediate action and bought food, taught the mother what she could that night. I bought the little girl some dresses, a comb, brush, toothpaste, toothbrush, mirror and other such everyday things. We ended up taking care of that family until a state agency started to help. Once this little one had breakfast every morning, she blossomed in the classroom. She was already signed up for free lunch. Our nurse made regular visits for quite awhile and so did I. These kind of things can truly break your heart, but I have always found wonderful human beings who love to help. Missing one meal is nothing………

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