Action vs. Awareness
Yesterday afternoon I watched a local news report about how September is Hunger Action Month. The reporter spoke about how hunger has always been around and we’re not likely to get rid of it. Although there are ways to minimize it.
He went on to explain by way of an interview with the CEO of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee how it could be improved.
She explained it’s not as simple as people donating more food or money to their organization. (Although that does help.)
How to End Hunger
However, to truly make a difference, citizens needed to speak up more. We need to take a stand and educate our lawmakers. We have to make it clear to them that improving three things in particular can make a huge dent in the hunger problem:
- Living wages
- Affordable housing
- Less expensive medicines and medical care
One of the people interviewed who rely on the food bank’s reserves was an older woman who’d fallen on hard times due to health issues. (Cancer. Don’t even get me started on what havoc that disease can wreck on a person’s life and finances. In fact not too long ago I wrote about my friend Lon and his wife and their struggles to now make ends meet because of cancer. But I’ll be advocating more about that in future posts.)
Nashville’s housing prices have gotten crazy since we first moved here 10 years ago. Which is great when Life is going your way. Wayne has a good job that affords us a nice house.
However, what if something happened to him and he couldn’t work anymore?
Yes, we have savings. But, pardon my French, shit happens.
What if our savings got sucked dry and we weren’t in a position to replenish it? What if savings were sucked dry due to health issues? (Again, happens to thousands every day here in America. I refer you again to my friend Lon who I referenced a couple of paragraphs back.)
Well, just like that you can go from having a job, being able to afford housing and healthcare to finding yourself up Shit Creek without a paddle –which wouldn’t do you much good anyway because did I mention you’re about to capsize and what you really need is a life jacket and you don’t have one of those either?
I remember watching and reading numerous stories during our Great Recession about people who found themselves at food banks needing their assistance. People who had lived comfy suburban lifestyles until Life detoured them down Shit Creek.
Food –or rather lack thereof– became an issue. And for those with medical problems on top of it, they found themselves having to decide between eating or skipping their meds and risking winding up sicker.
One Sick Country
What’s really sick is that this is an issue. If our country is so great, we shouldn’t think it’s shameful to help others out.
I’m not talking charity. A lot of us are good at giving that. Organizations like Second Harvest Food Bank are proof of that.
But the fact that such an organization needed to spring up at all? Blows my mind away.
Other First World/Superpower countries do not let their citizens deal with choosing between eating for a week or having enough for rent and medicines. Shameful!
But before I get too preachy, let me get back on track. The thing I like about the Take Action to End Hunger Month is the word “action.”
The last thing we needed was another “awareness” month. If we’re going to bring causes to light, we need to talk about them less and do more for them.
Like acting to end hunger.
- Are you really going to eat all the packaged and canned goods in your pantry? Could you do with less? Why not donate it to a food drive?
- Write your lawmakers. Let your councilmen, mayor, senators and congressmen know they’re in office to represent us. All of us. Encourage them to find ways to make our lives better, livable, and affordable. Black, white, pink, green…all lives matter. And don’t write just once. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. We all need to let them hear us. Over and over and over until they get the message.
- Lastly, since hunger is an issue that won’t be solved overnight, make donations to your local food bank. If you have the luxury of eating lunches out, buying Starbucks, etc., but don’t think you can afford to donate much to a food bank, think again. Think about the people who don’t have but need. Give up your latte or hamburger for a day or week and donate the money you would’ve spent to the food bank.
Money Where My Mouth Is?
You betcha! The Second Harvest Food Bank is already one of the charities I donate to regularly. But this month? I’ll be sure to give just a little bit more…and not just money, but I’ll practice some of my own advice and do the above.