It is possible to end hunger in this country.
The missing pieces of the puzzle are a wide recognition that hunger is a serious problem and an unconditional commitment to feed everyone. Fortunately, President Obama recognizes that hunger is a problem in this country. We need that same recognition from the Governors of all 50 states. The talking heads on television need to talk about hunger. Businesses need to let us know that hungry people are not ready to work. Colleges and universities need to make hunger awareness part of their curriculum. Our military needs to acknowledge that hungry Americans are not prepared to serve their country.
When everyone is aware of the damage hunger is doing to our country, we need to make the commitment to feed everyone. And it has to be unconditional. No judging who is deserving of food assistance. And I mean no judging. We seem to spend a lot of time judging people these days, whether it’s their political views, socioeconomic status, how they use their money (or don’t), what kind of car they drive, or what kind of music they listen to. This will take time, effort and persistence, driving towards a clear, understandable goal – but isn’t that what leaders are supposed to do?
Existing federal and state anti-hunger programs, like SNAP (formerly food stamps ) and WIC can ensure food security for everyone in this country if we stop the judging, and shift existing resources to the right places. I won’t get into the details here. Check out http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/03/dww_hunger.html for a deeper dive.
But we’re not all leaders in eliminating hunger, writing reports and making policy. Most of us just need to know what we can do today that is within our abilities and means. Enter Hunger Action Month. Each state participates by letting people know what they can do every day to move us toward a hunger-free America. You can take “The Pledge,” pick apples for donation to the Vermont Foodbank, have your book club read a book about hunger. In fact, there are “30 Ways in 30 Days” you can help. Visit the Vermont Foodbank at http://www.vtfoodbank.org/Events/HungerActionMonth.aspx to learn more.
It may seem like taking a pledge, reading a book or making a donation to the Vermont Foodbank won’t end hunger – and it most likely won’t – but if one thousand people did it we’d have a start, and if they each convinced a friend, and they each convinced a friend and so on, well, pretty soon we’d have a solution.