Baking brings me joy. But last night’s mission involved a deeper purpose.
I wanted to reward those students who make it to our last class meeting before spring break.
I already know what you’re thinking. What college professor makes baked goods for their students?
Well, if you’ve taught young adults in the last decade, you might understand. Students are hungry. Really hungry.
I teach a wide variety of students. Some come from affluence, others know the streets. But they’re all stressed out of their minds. Sometimes this leads to medication that alters their metabolism. Other times it inspires binging – usually on something very unhealthy. Most, quite simply, forget what it means to take care of themselves.
One semester, in particular, comes to mind.
“Professor Fortenberry, I haven’t eaten in over 24 hours.” She was visibly shaken (and understandably on edge).
Immediately, I searched my bag. A badly bruised banana. I offered it with maternal love. She devoured.
But, if I’m honest, this happens fairly often. I’ve given students broken chocolate, a handful of peanuts, and even pretzels pilfered from our department’s faculty lounge.
So why in the world – on a random Wednesday night – would I bake?
Because my heart knows that those most hungry will never ask to be fed.