I was going to post a picture of famine victims in Africa to illustrate what most of us think of when we think about hunger. Five seconds on that google image search and my heart is still breaking and I’m fighting back tears and nausea.
So hunger doesn’t have the heart stabby image that famine has. Except.
It does. Because it looks like this:
Ok, so that is my daughter. Not a food bank client. But you know what? She could be. The people that we saw at the food banks recent Blogmob looked like my family, my friends, my neighbors. And in fact they are. All of those.
More than 30% of recipients are children.
More than 10% are elderly.
Many are disabled.
And of the rest? Most of them are working adults who just can’t quite stretch their pennies enough to feed their family some months.
The Food Bank distributes an almost unimaginable amount of food every year in Western Pennsylvania, 27 million pounds last year alone. And the need is rising. Poverty is up. The number of children in poverty and food insecure households is up. And help from the government is in peril. Many people will be potentially be left with no safety net soon. Except the food bank. The food bank is there to make sure children, elderly, the disabled, and everyone has food on their tables.
Some of my fellow Blogmobbers share their experience at the Food Bank:
September is Hunger Action Month, and I am woefully behind in posting about both blog mob and HAM. But I’d encourage you not to let the calendar stop you from doing something to help end Hunger.
I suspect some of you are thinking “end hunger? Impossible. There will always be poor among us…” But ending hunger is different then ending poverty (also a worthy goal.) Ending hunger is about saying that in America, the richest country on earth, possibly the riches country in the history of countries, no child, no elderly person, no disabled person, in fact just plain NO ONE, should ever go to bed hungry. We can feed everyone. That is doable.
The food bank and its associated food pantries distributes food to hungry people. The blog mob visited during “produce to people” a special program that distributes fresh produce to their regular clients. For families who rely on value time canned carrots, fresh potatoes, pears, zucchinis, and other produce is not only a nutritional boon, but also a real treat.
So what can you do? It’s easy. It’s painless. It’s scalable. You canhelp end hunger in Pittsburgh by doing…whatever you can do. Let me explain…
- The smallest act helps. $.50 extra at the store for a can of veggies or beans on sale provides nutrition to a family dinner.
- You can have a party (yay!) and ask every one you know to bring a can. Or a box of cereal. Or a bag of dried beans. And donate that.
- You can donate $$. They like money. Why? Because the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank is MAGIC with money. They can take your dollar and turn it into FIVE DOLLARS.
I know, right!?!? Yup, their purchasing power is such that for every dollar you donate they can buy $5 worth of food. This is important not only because it stretches your generosity, but they can make sure their clients have a varied and nutritious diet.
The P on the Item number means these were purchased. There is row upon row of shelves full of purchased food. That way the GPFB doesn’t have to depend on donations, because you cannot count on donated items to make a balanced diet. So money is a good way to help.
But there are lots of other ways for every budget, appetite and personality to help.
- Call a legislator,
- volunteer to pack boxes,
- spread the word,
- educate yourself and others…
Whatever way you choose, please help today. Hunger is everywhere, (and getting worse) and it contributes to so many other social ills…ever try to learn, work or be a good citizen when you don’t have enough to eat?? And the thing is, its easy to fix. We have enough food in this country. More than enough. We just need to make sure that everyone can get it. So please. Go help today….