Saturday, November 18, 2006

By Any Other Name...

"The war against hunger is truly mankind's war of liberation."

-John F. Kennedy

852 million people across the world are hungry. Worldwide, more that 1 billion people currently live below the international poverty level. Six million children under the age of 5 die every year as a result of hunger.In New Orleans, requests for food and shelter remain at 50% higher then before Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29, 2005. Of the 6.4 million Americans who requested emergency food from an America's Second Harvest Food Agency, 4.6 of them were seeking food assistance for the first time.

After reading statistics like those, I became more than a little perplexed that the Bush administration would even try to justify or defend a recent, Department of Agriculture, report which removed the word, HUNGER, and replaced it with the new terminology of "food insecure." The report finds that number of households in America last year, which had difficulty feeding themselves fell from 11.9% to 11%, and included families without enough to eat or families with parents who went without eating in order to feed their children. At that time they were classified as "food insecure with hunger," this year it is being called, "very low food security." You can call it what you want, but it is still, and always will be HUNGER.

"When they hear 'very low food security' it sounds like bureaucratic jargon. It doesn't sound like the people who can't get enough to eat."

-Deborah Leff, Public Welfare Foundation

I am lucky, I have plenty of food in my pantry. I will be sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner , later this week, with little worry about how I will be able to afford to put it on the table, but there will be folks who will be hungry, right here in Alameda County where I live. Probably right here in Berkeley. I have some bags of canned/non-perishable food ready to be dropped off at the Alameda County Community Food Bank, located in Oakland, but it won't be enough. It's obscene that our government can always find the money for war, but social issues, such as hunger, the homeless population, of which approximately 50% are veterans, education, healthcare, and the environment are always made to hold the lowest priority. It's wrong.

Please donate some canned/non-perishable food to your local shelters and food bank programs this holiday season. You can find your local donation center by visiting the web site of America's Second Harvest. While at their site, you can learn more about them and read up on the facts and figures for yourself. Educate yourself, you will be glad you did. John Scalzi wrote an amazing essay some years back, on what it is to be poor. As with all excellent writers, he writes from his own experiences with honesty. It is so worth the read, especially during this holiday season. You can find his essay here. Don't let the Bush administration change what we all know is true... HUNGER is HUNGER... not "food insecurity."

Being Poor by John Scalzi

America's Second Harvest

Alameda County Community Food Bank
P.O. Box 2599
7900 Edgewater Drive
Oakland, Ca 94614
Phone: 510-635-3773

"Please Help"
Berkeley, California
December 24, 2005
Late Afternoon


DesLily said...

excellent post Carly. I donate foods when I can.

When I was young the Salvation Army gave us food at thanksgiving or we wouldn't have had our "fiest".

Even right now, when my brother is no longer with us I will have to leave and fen for myself on 12,000 a year...until i am 64 (3 more yrs) nearly 6,000 of that 12,000 goes for health insurance. I am far from alone in this... and there's no answers. So helping when one can is always a good thing. Be it food or help in other ways. You never know when "you" might turn into the one needing the help

Nancy said...

Great post, Carly...thank you for helping to enlighten everyone. We do our part as best we can.


Anonymous said...

We can all do a part, our part, to help those that have less.

Karen Funk Blocher said...

Our church keeps a food pantry for the needy, and we currently have a call out in our announcements seeking more donations for it. And once a month, church volunteers bring a couple dozen eggs each to the Parish Center, and make egg salad sandwiches for the Casa Maria soup kitchen.