Please forgive the off-topic post, but I can’t help myself.
This is a blog about weight loss, but it is also about the love of food, in all it’s good and bad shades, and about enough – the notion that there is an amount for all of us that is just right – not too much, not too little – a measure that fulfills and sustains, and allows us to find peace of mind and happiness in not only the act of eating, but life itself.
I often remind myself that I have an embarrassment of riches. I write this from the comfort of my home, a refrigerator stocked with food I’d rather not eat too much of nearby, and have written about this dilemma and the remedies to this for over 5 years.
Sadly, for many people in the US in this day and age, there are people for whom my problem of eating too much is a slap in the face: they go to bed hungry, not because they are on a diet by choice, but because their circumstances have left them without food.
While our politicians bloviate on the ‘right way’ to solve America’s problems, many people who do not have the luxury of waiting for them to sort it out feed their children with the only food available and go to bed hungry themselves. In many cases, the children go to bed hungry as well.
I have given up on our government to solve the problems of these people. We live in a time where compassion and empathy are seen as weakness, and the victims blamed for their misfortune as if the world does not hand out luck in unequal amounts and that all people who go to bed hungry somehow deserve it.
I recently read a quote by Stephen Colbert that stopped me cold on this subject:
“If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.”
I’ve decided that instead of waiting for somebody else to do something, I am going to do something myself. Now.
As of this post I have begun donating monthly to FeedingAmerica.org. I chose this organization because they are highly rated by both and CharityNavigator.org and the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance as a charity that provides a high level of the funds donated to the people it is intended for, without a lot of ‘overhead’ costs that enrich the people who run the charity instead of the people it is meant for.
Additionally, I am putting them on watch that I intend to keep track of them and will find another worthy charity to replace them if they don’t keep their end of the bargain and squeeze every last cent of my donation to help the hungry in America.
Here’s the letter I received from them thanking me for my monthly donation of $30:
Thank you for stepping up your commitment to our fight against hunger by becoming a monthly donor. Your gift of $30.00 will help provide 240 meals to people in need!
As a monthly donor, you play a critical role in helping to feed hardworking families facing hunger all across our country.
And you prevent good, wholesome food from going to waste making sure it goes to the people who need it most, and not into landfills.
Your regular gift also allows us to plan for the year ahead, helping us to make sure our network always has a supply of food and helping to reduce administrative costs.
Like most people in America today, uncertainty about my future and my family’s future abound. Retirement is uncertain, unemployment is always a possibility in this economy, and we have 2 kids who I would like to see go to college. My car is 8 years old and has 180,000 miles on it. It might be prudent for me to put this money toward our retirement, or our children’s future, but with so many people in such dire need, I feel it would be selfish not to do something to help.
I don’t want to get into some debate about ‘give a man a fish’, nor make this some political thing. This is about hungry people, now, and getting them something to eat. Neither is this ideological in my expecting this food to be low carb. I just want to help solve the hunger problem in some small way.
Nor do I want to make this a question of faith. Compassion is not exclusive to any faith, and is found in those with no faith as well.
I have made some small contribution, and now I ask you this: if this blog has been of value to you, consider a donation. You are under no obligation. I am not ‘guilting’ anybody here – it’s not my style. Neither am I doing this for praise: I almost consider my donation a joke, and think I should give more.
I’m doing it because I want to live in a world where fewer people go to bed hungry – it’s as simple as that.
5 thoughts on “Making the World a Better Place One Bite at a Time”
Hunger, to be sure, is a problem. But it is the big problem? http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2003-09-28/news/0309270148_1_overweight-or-obese-women-were-overweight-south-africa?pagewanted=all
I have not exactly given up on politicians. I think they can help solve both the hunger and public health problems; but first they need to be educated.
Currently, political education is largely in the hands of lobbyists furnished by the corporate sector. I suppose one could blame the corporate sector for the decisions politicians make. Or shift the blame to the experts who advise politicians and CEOs. But really, it’s the consumer who must shoulder responsibility for the current state of affairs. It was Grant Donovan who said, “Let’s always remember that the population of the world is individually brilliant but collectively stupid beyond belief.” Collectively, we all elect the political leaders and choose the products corporations make. Either way, our vote counts for something.
The best thing we can do is follow where our hearts lead and do what good we can. In my experience the greatest satisfaction in life comes not from what I do for myself but from what I do for others. This includes those yet unborn.
I think I am going to be printing out the Grant Donovan quote and framing it.
Regarding politics, hunger does not exist in the abstract, but it becomes an abstraction when the best ways to combat it become the subject of lengthy debate and education is needed. The fact is – children in America will go to sleep hungry tonight and mine won’t. I can’t put that into the abstract anymore. I can’t wait because they can’t wait.
As to the unborn, I too want to protect them by having them born into a world that is charitable enough to ensure that they can be fed, even if, through no fault of their own, their parents might be considered undeserving.
Great quote by one of the world’s most important people; silence is one of the worst things we can do as a people!
Well written & thank you for sharing this important topic. I’m inspired to examine what I’m currently doing & and what I may want to add or do differently- (favorite MIB Quote: ” A person is smart; people are dumb”)
Well said! I Believe we should all give of what we can, when ever we can, to whom ever we can.