Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Last week was United Way's Hunger Action Week, where they challenged individuals or families to try to live on $7 of food per day per person, which is the average amount someone on food stamps receives in this country. Many bloggers got in on the action, writing long and detailed blog posts about their efforts, including many shopping lists and recipes for creatively preparing food on a such an extraordinarily limited budget.
At first glance, it seems quite noble as they hoped to draw attention to the struggles of hungry families in America. But the more I read, the more I got the feeling that these posts smacked of self righteousness, and very clearly illustrated the the vast chasm between the haves and have nots. The have nots have not been to culinary school. The have nots don't belong to a food co-op. The have nots don't spend time pouring over cookbooks for recipes to help them make the best of what they've got. The have nots don' t have hours to braise a pork shoulder that can be eaten over several days. The have nots don't have a partner to help wrangle children while they grind wheat and bake bread from scratch. What they do have are young children struggling to keep up in school, multiple jobs to help make ends meet, and real stress that you and I cannot begin to imagine.
I am certain that these bloggers had the very best intentions in taking on this challenge. They know that hunger is a real issue in this country (though our poor our the most likely to be obese, the most likely to eat fast foods and convenient foods, and the least likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables...eh, we'll leave that for another day). But it seemed like there was an awful lot of back patting going on...."look how creatively I've fed my family this week!!"
Did Hunger Action Week make people more aware of hunger? Perhaps. But the good that comes from this new-found awareness is for naught if people don't get out into their neighborhoods and get to work. Work in the food kitchens, teach free cooking classes, and become an advocate for the hungry with your local and state representatives. When we were in Brattleboro, VT this summer at the farmers' market there, they gladly accepted food vouchers. This was quite a revelation to me. This should be the case all over the country! And food bloggers, now that you've shared how wonderfully you've fed your family of three for $21 a day, get out there and share that information with those who don't have time to sit and write (or read) blogs all day....Just my 2 cents.
Stepping off my soapbox now....
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!