Charity Issue: Feed the facts

The+Missouri+Eating+Disorder+Association+%28MOEDA%29+is+a+non-profit+organization+dedicated+to+providing+resources+and+information+to+those+with+eating+disorders.

Lilly Maney

The Missouri Eating Disorder Association (MOEDA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources and information to those with eating disorders.

By Anna Newland, Kirkwood High School

You are what you eat. 

This saying became a reality for Audrianna Hebron, junior ambassador for Missouri Eating Disorder. After being diagnosed with childhood obesity at 8 years old, her world fixated on a timeless habit: eating. Hebron needed a sense of control and found that control in what she ate. In September of her freshman year of high school, Hebron was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. 

“I felt lonely [and had] that feeling of [not having] a grasp on things going on in [my] life during this time,” Hebron said. “Organizations like Missouri Eating Disorder Association helped me get over these fears of my eating disorder [and] feel confident in my recovery.”

The Missouri Eating Disorder Association (MOEDA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources and information to those with eating disorders. MOEDA executive board director, Lisa Iken, said one out of every nine people will be diagnosed with an eating disorder at some point in their life. 

“Eating disorders are truly a health epidemic,” Iken said. “[It’s] like a little person sitting on your shoulder abusing and manipulating you, making it hard for you to break away from [an eating disorder]. People [can get the] treatment and help [they need through] organizations like [MOEDA].”

Hebron said MOEDA offers various resources ranging from support groups to information panels. One of the best ways for volunteers to get involved is through the Feed The Facts program. This is when volunteers share MOEDAs “Feed The Facts” presentation on eating disorders to middle and high school health classes. According to their website, MOEDA is the only eating disorder organization dedicated to delivering information to schools around Missouri. 

“With all the positive feedback and hearing everyone’s stories, I felt driven to stay in recovery to help myself [and] other people.” ”

— Megan Hubbard

“I developed an eating disorder when [I was] younger, and there was a lot of shame and secrecy around it,” Iken said. “If I had someone come in and do our presentation, and I knew the damage I was doing to my body, I would have gotten help instead of hiding it.”

Megan Hubbard, MOEDA volunteer, and Lindbergh High School senior, said MOEDA helped her through her recovery. She said she regained confidence in herself through her work.

“Everyone [at MOEDA] wants to help each other,” Hubbard said. “With all the positive feedback and hearing everyone’s stories, I felt driven to stay in recovery to help myself [and] other people.” 

Iken said most volunteers and workers at MOEDA have experienced or have had a loved-one be affected by an eating disorder. She said this brings a passion that sets them apart from other organizations. 

“We don’t have a million dollar budget, [but] we know we’re saving lives [and] changing people,””

— Lisa Iken

“We don’t have a million dollar budget, [but] we know we’re saving lives [and] changing people,” Iken said. “[MOEDA] is like a home [for] people in recovery because everybody gets it.”

Hebron began working with MOEDA mainly because her younger self would have loved some guidance through her recovery. She wishes she would have had access to information and resources when she had an eating disorder. She said MOEDA has encouraged her to give back to those in need of resources and conquer those final fears of recovery. 

“[Eating disorders] can make you feel so helpless,” Hebron said. “If you or a loved one is struggling, please reach out because, at the end of the day, it’s better to act and be wrong than to be right and not say anything and risk the health of someone you care about.” 

 

To learn more, donate or volunteer, go to https://moeatingdisorders.org/, where all the information to contribute is located.

This story was originally published on The Kirkwood Call on December 1, 2022.