In the 'land of plenty,' where nearly 70% of the population is overweight or obese and 40% of the food purchased goes to waste, it is easy to forget that there are many many Americans who do not have enough food to eat. This heartbreaking and honest short clip from the BBC will remind you that not everyone is living in the 'land of plenty.' (head over to the BBC via the link to watch it...right now!)
And in full display of my 'bleeding heart,' watching clips like this truly does break my heart. The children in this clip who talk about not having food to eat at home, and whose faces show the worry usually present on someone much older, have haunted me for days.
This clip is a reminder to me, and will likely be the same for you if you watch it, to be thankful for my life and the good food on my table. As you are eating your meals, or even enjoying some leftover valentines day candies, imagine how grateful any one of the children in that clip would be to have what you have. These children are eating beef-a-roni, potentially cold because of a
lack of cooking facilities, and without it they would have gone hungry.
Makes me realize the luxury of the organic apples sitting on my kitchen
As the clip reports: "20 million Americans...earn less than $11,000 a year for a family of four." Could you feed a family of four on $11,000?
If you're like me, watching this clip makes you want to do something to help. The food that we give to the hungry in the US is often very unhealthy. Most often, it is inexpensive, unhealthy, shelf-stable processed foods. If you want to donate food to the hungry, at your local food bank for example, try to give healthy foods that will last. Canned fruits and vegetables without added sugar or salt, natural peanut butter, dried beans, and brown rice are all good choices.
As for me, I'm going to be keeping a close eye on the policy side of this. I'll be watching what happens with the Farm Bill in the US, which is supposed to be rewritten this year, although there is doubt about that actually happening. The Farm Bill is the legislation in the US that includes funding for the major food and nutrition related safety net programs, such as food stamps. For more information about the Farm Bill, Marion Nestle has a good starting summary of what will take place this year.
Update: The BBC News is reporting today that 500 million children world wide could be physciall and mentally stunted by hunger. Still think hunger isn't a problem?