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For 5 Years, This Activist Lived In Her Car To Volunteer At 200 Different Food Banks Across America

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Would you live in your car just to help other people from going hungry? Jess Kurti did for five years. She traveled the country in her car just so she could feed the hungry and volunteer at 200 different food banks. She dubbed her quest the “Beast of Burden Challenge.”

Dropping Everything To Feed The Hungry

Kurti, 47, had volunteered at local food banks in the Florida town where she lived. But after losing her job as a meter reader in Fort Myers in 2012, she decided that she needed a change. One that would serve others.

“I really wanted a purpose-driven life and a service-driven life,” she told Mashable.


So, Kurti packed up her car and set out with the massive goal of visiting all 200 food banks in Feeding America’s hunger relief network. She slept in her car most of the time and sometimes would crash on a friend’s couch. Any money she raised was donated to Feeding America. She used her own savings during her travels. Kurti achieved her goal on April 11, 2019, when she visited her final food bank in Virginia. She was the first volunteer to ever achieve such a feat in the organization’s 40-year history.

The Faces Of The Hungry

“We are inspired by Jess and her amazing journey across the country to volunteer at every Feeding America food bank,” Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America, said according to the organization’s website. “Through her travels, she has seen firsthand what hunger in America looks like and the incredible impact that volunteers can make.”

Kurti says she was shocked and angered by the truths she learned about hunger and the people who face it. Seniors who are lonely and want to share a meal with someone, single mothers who worry about how they are going to feed their children, or people who have to choose between medicine and food.

Bringing Awareness To Hunger In America

During her volunteer work, she picked vegetables from urban gardens, loaded delivery trucks, assembled donations boxes for national disaster survivors, made meals for school children, and worked at metal band Metallica’s day of national service. She also ran marathons along the way to make a connection between health and hunger.

“I hope I’ve inspired people to look closer within our neighborhoods to identify who may be struggling, how we can help, and to think of new ways to fight hunger. Do what you can wherever you are because no effort is too small in the fight against hunger,” Kurti told Feeding America.

While Kurti has completed her goal she has no intention of stopping her efforts to volunteer at food banks and raise awareness of America’s hunger crisis. She intends to dedicate the rest of her life to the cause. Join the 500+ people on Facebook who follow and like Kurti’s work. You can hear Kurti talk more about her work on the Beast of Burden Challenge Facebook page and in the video below.

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