Please Sir, May I Have Some More?
“Daddy, I’m starving,” my 7-yo lamented, being, to use his own word, “marshmallow-dramatic.” “What’d you eat for lunch?” I asked, admiring his bright eyes in the rearview, as we drove from school last week. “Lunch was terrible today. I didn’t eat it.” Aha! There’s the rub. My little prince often opts out of the healthy and abundant meals put before him, yet another irrefutable proof of our privileged lives. And something my wife and I are dead-set on clarifying for our children.
From April 12-18, Jodi, Kai, Bodhi and I will shop and eat only what we can buy at the poverty level – $4.50 per day per person or $31.50 per week (goodbye Whole Foods). This amount is known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly “Food Stamps.” Why are we doing this? To raise awareness about the shame of domestic hunger in the richest nation EVER.
This problem is national, but let’s just look at Florida, one of the wealthiest states in America. Believe it or not, 1 in 4 children go to bed hungry or worried about having enough food each night. I’ve never known real hunger. But the thought of my innocent, lovely children being hungry in their bones … and not understanding why they feel so yucky. And why I, their protector, cannot give them food … this crushes me.
Swim Together, Acrylic, paper, wax, tape and ink on canvas with resin, 40″x30″ 2005, Stuart Sheldon
And children are only part of the tragedy – 1 in 7 older adults has to choose between paying for healthcare or buying groceries. Nearly 1 million people in S. Florida have no idea where their next meal is coming from.
Hunger does not discriminate. Most of these are not people mooching off society. Since 2010, the reliance on emergency food programs has increased by almost 40%. Families and individuals who were once donors are now standing in line at soup kitchen and food pantries: working mothers and veterans and college students who’ve used all their money on books and tuition. And old folks who just can’t stretch their social security any further. In other words, it’s YOU AND ME were circumstance just slightly different. And the problem is only worsening.
We with plenty are obliged to help those with less. Period.
Please support us and help us reduce hunger in America by clicking the link and donating to the cause.
Please join our SNAP CHALLENGE . All funds raised will go directly to Feeding South Florida, the local food bank that provides nourishment to many of our South Florida neighbors.