I don’t know why I’m even thinking about this. This afternoon, one of my neighbors knocked on my door and asked if I had anything at all I could give them to cook for dinner tonight. The only reason I had to stop and think about it at all was because she has two little ones and I was trying to think of what I had that they’d eat. Most of what I have in my pantry are things like quinoa, brown rice, dry beans, couscous, you get the picture. I finally asked if they like spaghetti. She said they love spaghetti so I went to my pantry to give her what I had. Well, no spaghetti (thought for sure I’d bought a box of whole wheat spaghetti, but I guess not), but I did have a box of rotini and a jar of pasta sauce and some canned veggies. She was so grateful, telling me she wouldn’t get her food stamps for a few more days. Well, I’m not worried about the food, that’s for sure.
I just can’t imagine how humiliating it would be to have to ask someone you only know in passing for food to feed your kids. She works two jobs and is on medical leave. She’s able to use her sick time from her full-time job, but there’s nothing to make up for the money she’d earn with her part-time job. So she’s making enough to pay the rent and utilities, but that’s it. I don’t even want to get into the whole political aspect of this. It’s just a shame that someone who works so hard has to struggle like this when she gets sick.
Whatever your thoughts on that aspect of it might be, you have to consider the kids. They have no say in anything that goes on in their lives. And to think of them having to go to bed without something to eat because their mom’s sick…I can’t just stand by and watch that. I hear people make comments about people on food stamps, about people who utilize the food pantries, about people who can’t make ends meet. You know, if there are people out there who are abusing the system or taking advantage of someone else’s generosity, that’s on them. But how could you live with yourself if someone was genuinely in need and you turned your back on them? If you had the ability to ensure a child doesn’t go to bed hungry and you looked the other way, what kind of person does that make you?
Now I’m debating with myself about whether or not I should go to the grocery store in the morning and buy some food for them. Or maybe I can go buy a gift card and anonymously leave it on her door, she would know more what her kids would eat than I would. I just shake my head that here we are in the richest nation on the planet and there are people who have no food. What a sad situation.
- Chuck McBride: Closer Than You Think: The Story of Hunger in America (huffingtonpost.com)
- Food insecurity around the world (heatherfromthegrove.wordpress.com)
- Companies’ anti-hunger efforts don’t address the roots of food poverty (theguardian.com)