Today after watching Dr. Oz, I sent this out to my neighborhood,
Usually one of the annoyances of working from home is the background TV. However this morning I was listening to Dr. Oz while I was writing who was doing a very compelling show addressing hunger in this country. Turns out that for the price of my large morning latte' and a bagel (5.00 ) I can feed a child for a day and hunger in America is reaching huge proportions. The stories featured were of middle class families who are falling through the cracks and it was pretty tough to watch when I realize that I:
- Throw out way more food than I should
- Drink way more latte's than I need
- This problem is as large as all of us.
- Hunger in America is probably affecting someone that you or I know right now.
- I may not be able to fix climate change or make our Congress work together…..but our citizens are struggling and I could do something about that.
- 1825.00 can feed one child for a year.
- Bitch if I can't afford my expensive perfume habit for a month.
So I was wondering. This is the most generous neighborhood that I've ever lived in. Would anyone want to donate money or canned goods somewhere? The normal give a family a Christmas is nice, but I'd like to do something a bit more that could affect a larger percentage. I'm entirely open to suggestions though. If no one wants to I'm fine with that too . I will be happy to drop off whatever we decide to do wherever we decide to do it!
Please let me know what you think and we'll get the ball rolling and please add anyone to this list that I may have missed.
So far, I've received replies from 7 families willing to donate as well as my 24 year old son. I am feeling pretty damn great. Truth be told, I wasn't really paying attention to hunger until this morning. I'm a cook and I write about food, so there's fortunately plenty of that in my refrigerator, including all of the latest ingredients to play with. ONE of the families that was interviewed by Dr. Oz's team was a lovely middle class family with 4 kids, completely down on their luck. They simply don't have enough to eat. Their food benefits have run out for the time being and they are struggling here in America where there is so much abundance. I can't deal with that. I will never forget the site of this mother opening her trash can to find that someone had thrown out three stalks of celery, picking them out and rewashing them so she could use them . I throw out enough food on a weekly basis to feed that family and I am ashamed of that. My cats eat better daily than her kids do. I'm not inclined to bash myself for what I have, but this made me really sit up and pay attention. And I'm compelled to do something about it.
Dr. Oz showed that for 5.00 dollars a day a child could be fed in this country. Pocket change. One Starbucks not even so good for you latte' and a cookie.
One little known story in my family's history is that my mother was born into a very wealthy family in Champaign Illinois. During the depression, the banker ran off with everyones money and turned it into a ghost town. My mother and her family had to go live in Shaker Heights with her grandmother, who was very well to do, but quite patrician. My mother who was self admittedly a bit of a princess was completely horrified. Not enough help (she was used to a huge staff) and she had to go to a fancy all girls school. It's my understanding that she moped and pouted until one day my great grandma grabbed her and took her down to the soup kitchens . "Barbara, you are going to work down here everyday after school so that you can see how people who really have nothing live. I've had quite enough!" As my mom tells it, that experience changed her life. She became a rabid activist almost immediately after that and spent the rest of her life fighting for social justice. She made sure that we did too.
If my mother were alive today, I know what she'd be doing. She'd be feeding everyone, just like she did back then, working to make sure that our government safety net programs stayed intact and railing against people like the newscaster in the clip above who just don't seem to understand how big this problem really is. The extreme right wing forces would be calling her a socialist and she'd smile, my very Patrician mother with her diamonds,pearls and platinum and say "Of Course I am....and I'm proud to be if that's what it means if someone takes care of their fellow man."
I am not a Christian but I do believe in the words "What you do for the least of them , you do for me". What I want to know is why our country is currently so fixated upon not doing. It just feels so very sad, but we CAN do something about it!
Here's the link Share our Strength
If you feel so moved to start a neighborhood food drive of your own, let them know by tweeting to #DrOzHunger. Let me know too. Work at a foodbank, cook at a homeless shelter, expose childhood hunger for what it is...a senseless crime against our future.