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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hunger In America, A Wrapup

I hope you have taken the time to educate yourself a bit on this serious topic that affects all of us ultimately.  As I have said, hungry children do not learn well, and then aren't prepared to enter the workforce.  Then they become the next generation of poor and the cycle continues.

My daughter and others in her youth group at church had an excellent lesson this past week as they experienced different aspects of poverty.  The last day they fasted until 7:30 when they were served a surprise meal at the youth group meeting.  While my daughter said doing without food wasn't so bad, she realized it was only for one day.  She had plenty of food at home and no worries about where her meals were going to come from.  There were others in the group who found it harder to do without food.

I watched some of the programming on local and national news about hunger in America yesterday.  One of the most touching interviews was with a 10 year old boy.  When asked what the most difficult thing was for him, he replied, "Watching my Mom do without dinner."  She sacrificed so her children could have more.

So the next time you think that hungry people are those who don't work, think again.  Your co-worker whose husband got laid off three months ago may not make enough to cover the bills and buy food for the month.  She may be doing without so her children can eat.  The cashier at Wal Mart may work full time but find it hard to provide for her family on minimum wages.  Your yard man's job will run out during the fall and winter and he may struggle to find other work and his family suffers.

There is also the curious issue of obesity and poverty.  When we look at someone who is obese, we seldom stop to think that he or she is malnourished but that is often the case.  The cheapest food is usually the least nutritious and highest in fat and sugar calories.  Poor people often live in food deserts as well, meaning there are no grocery stores near them or they lack adequate transportation to get to a store.  Could you carry home a week's supply of groceries on a bus?  I think not.

I challenge my readers to contribute money to their local food bank or soup kitchen.  Instead of stopping to get your morning latte for a week, donate the cost of the drink.  Get your scout troupe or Sunday school class to do a food drive.  Challenge your family to do without sodas for a month and donate that money.  Just donate.  You never know when it could be your turn to need your neighbor's help.

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