At a time when the global hunger crisis is in the headlines every day, many people don't realize that there's a problem here in the U.S., too, says Christensen. In New York City, where approximately two out of five people report having trouble buying groceries, the Food Bank provides food for 300,000 free meals a day to soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters, thanks to donations from retailers, government agencies, and individuals. "Just because this is one of the most powerful countries in the world doesn't mean people aren't starving here," says Christensen, who now likes to work behind the lens as a photographer, in addition to her modeling and activism.
As she meets with the workers at the warehouse, Christensen asks questions, snaps photos, and swaps jokes. ("I need a freezer this size," she says as she enters a colossal, frosty, meat-filled room; a guy quips back, "You won't stay skinny for long.") Then she jumps into a car to visit a community kitchen in Harlem where some of the food goes. There, she makes a date to serve meals with her 9-year-old son, Mingus. "I want my son to know how lucky he is," says Christensen, who spent her own spare time as a kid in Denmark visiting with strangers at an old folks' home. "People can get so easily forgotten, and they can sink so low," she says. "They deserve respect."
For ways to donate time or money in your community, go to feedingamerica.org.