BLACKFOOT– Angela Wood has been dreaming about taking a trek across the United States starting on the East Coast heading West and back again. Ever since she was eleven years old she has been fascinated about people who have done long distance horse treks. She has also been a supporter of ending childhood hunger. As she started planning her trek she knew she wanted to lend support and raise awareness of childhood hunger as she continues on her journey.
Food insecurity and hunger are closely tied together but are conceptually different. Hunger refers to a personal, physical sensation of discomfort, while food insecurity refers to a lack of available financial resources for food at the level of the household, according to the Feeding America website. 40 million Americans live in food-insecure households. 9.7 million adults live in households with very low food security. 6.5 million children lived in food-insecure households where the children, as well as the adults were food insecure. 540,000 children, which is about .7-percent of the nation's children, lived in households where one or more children experience very low food security. These statistics come from the United States Department of Agriculture website. Overall it shows that households with children have a higher rate of food insecurity than those without.
Research shows that children who experience different types of hunger do not develop correctly. Wood wants to raise awareness of the fact that "children become deficient adults and have trouble becoming successful members of society."
Wood has taken a few years putting together all the logistics for her trek. She worked almost non-stop for two years to raise enough money for her trek. One of the biggest challenges for her has been mentally preparing for being alone for a long time as well as making sure her horses are fed. August 1 of 2018 was the beginning of Wood's trek. The differing trails and setbacks have made some interesting adventures for Wood and her two horses Renegade and Starbuck.
Wood has been, "humbled by so many people who have put me up and taken me in on the rest days. America truly is great because of the people I have met and had experiences with. Were it not for them, I wouldn't have been able to make it through the tough spots of feeding, farrier work, and even showers! I have truly been blessed."
Wood works her horses three days with one day rest, then three days and a two day rest. "I don't want them to be worn out. They go at four miles per hour no matter the road. I want them to be able to still have some energy when we have rest days." Wood does prefer unpaved roads because they are easier on the horses joints and shoes. Main roads are tough because cars and passing vehicles can launch rocks or other items which can hurt the horses. "When we first started out we went on a busy highway and a rock was launched from a passing truck and raised a massive welt on Renegade. I decided the roads less traveled, and the recommendations of my hosts, were the way to travel from then on!" Wood exclaimed.
As of today Wood has been on her horses for almost a whole year and has traveled over 3,574 miles, which means she is not even half done! Wood knows that her route can change at the drop of a hat, whether it be weather, roads, horses throwing shoes, and illness for Wood or her horses. No matter the case, she feels truly blessed that people have been so welcoming to her and her boys. "Even though this trek is completely self sponsored, I want people to understand that America is not free from childhood hunger. We may not see it on the streets, but it is there. When they see my wagon I want them to feel the need to look around their communities to see what they can do."
If anyone wishes to donate to the cause of ending childhood hunger they can donate at the website http://join.nokidhungry.org/site/TR/PFR/DD_Pers_Fund_13?px=3432979&pg=personal&fr_id=1473 or if one would like to read up on Wood's progress on her blog, check out challenge-america-equine-trek.com. She is also on Facebook with Chatrek Challenge Hunger American Trek. Reading the posts and seeing her progress is inspiring.