I don’t know if this is something that bothers you, but I am just heartsick that there are still so many hungry people in this country. And, despite growing numbers of people having problems feeding themselves and their families, more and more food pantries are finding their shelves bare. Some are even being forced to close for lack of resources. All this in a country as rich as ours.
According to the New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH), about 1 in 6 New Yorkers do not always know where their meals will come from. This is a sin in a city like New York filled with wealth and wonders of all kinds! And this is not just true in New York – too many people all over the United States are hungry and unsure of something as essential as food.
While we spend oodles of money trying to fix the world in our image (often side-stepping true collaborative, humanitarian efforts aimed at critical world problems), we are draining our coffers and ignoring major issues of need right here in our own country. The divide between rich and poor grows wider and wider. As our brains get diverted by TV images of spoiled starlets in tears and folks paying tens of thousands to lift and tuck parts of their bodies, can we please not forget about the most basic of human needs?
On the policy side, the NYCCAH strongly urges passage of the latest Farm Bill (updated 2013) and pleads with Congress “not to tighten its fiscal belt on the backs of children, seniors, veterans, and families facing a constant struggle against hunger.” I know a lot of this is caught up in local as well as national politics, but I hope we can at least come together to help address the very serious non-partisan issue of hunger!
In the meantime, I keep asking myself what can WE as individuals do???
Well, one thing of course is to join me in making an extra donation – if this is at all possible – of even as little as $5 to a local food pantry or distribution program of your choice. In New York City, City Harvest gathers up excess edible food and donates it to pantries and food programs throughout the city. There is also a national non-profit Feeding America that can help connect you to a program nearest you.
Just so you know, money is often better than actual food, since most places have deals that get them food at wholesale prices, and can stretch your money further. Why $5? I was looking for an amount small enough that most of us could spare, and yet still enough to buy an actual meal or two and make a real difference, especially if enough of us give. ($10, $15, $20 or more is always welcome, of course!)
Second…if this is something that touches your heart too, please add an extra post about it. I know there are an endless number of things we could give our time and attention to, but to me, food is just so basic…and one thing we could actually do something about! Lord knows, there are so many things we can’t.
Also, the NYCCAH is sponsoring a Nationwide Citizen Service Effort to help with hunger. Details here.
All I care about is increasing the food supplies for those who don’t have enough to eat. So just take it and run with it in your own way! I simply want us to put the idea out there, especially at this holiday season as winter approaches – and as countless new people face hard financial times as a result of our burgeoning credit crunch.
Just imagine. If each one of you posts about this and inspires just 10 people to donate and gets them to get 10 people and so on, by the time we are done we could have raised tens of thousands. And that translates into a lot of real food for a lot of hungry people.
Thanks to all of you who decide to help. Let’s hope this gets lots of action!
Oh…one more thought. Even if you don’t have the spare $5 – and I well recall times when I didn’t – remember that just blogging about it can make a huge contribution.
Also, here’s a cool free way to help others get food through the United Nations World Food Program – in this case, rice. This wonderful website where you can play for free, lets you increase your vocabulary and donate rice – all at the same time. Just click FreeRice to play. It’s fun! (Warning: Very addictive!)
And to donate directly to the
New York City Coalition Against Hunger: