Have YOU Ever Been Hungry?
When I was a kid, I despised Fridays. Friday meant tuna fish sandwiches for supper because for some strange reason, prior to Vatican II, it was a sin for Catholics to eat meat on Friday. Mom did not cook fish in the house. I think because of the way it could smell up the place.
So, imagine if you will, tuna fish, chopped up celery, mayonnaise all mixed together in a gooey mess, spread out over white bread that had reached its peak for freshness on Tuesday. Tuna fish sandwiches were torture enough on their own. But putting a Chocolate Hostess Cupcake package in front of me as incentive to eat it was cruel and unusual punishment. I had to eat every bite of my sandwich before I was allowed to eat dessert. Every. Single. Morsel. Many Friday nights that sandwich sat on my plate with one tiny bite out of it until it reached the point of the mayo going bad. Many Friday nights I was hungry and hungering for that damn chocolate cupcake!
My sister had a similar reaction to peanut butter sandwiches which were a mainstay (along with bologna) in our school lunch boxes. When she was a young child, she ate to sustain herself or because our parents made her eat. She was not the lover of food she is today. Today, she finds true joy in preparing food for others as a love language that she learned from our Nana Casella; “Love the family, feed the family.” I think a lot of people experience food in this way - a way to share, to nurture, to love, to feed.
These memories around food struck me this morning as I walked around The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. I saw cases of peanut butter stacked to the ceiling and boxes of tuna fish as well. And bread! Pepperidge Farms donated bins and bins full of the very rare but highly coveted donation to our Food Bank. Other staples that many of us take for granted such as milk, eggs, fresh fruit and vegetables all fill our warehouse racks, organized and ready to go out to food insecure individuals, families, wee ones.
It is both awesome and awful that last year we distributed over ELEVEN MILLION POUNDS of food from our little warehouse in Hatfield, Massachusetts. That equates to a tragic number of hungry people spread out over only four counties.
Many of the grumbling tummies belong to the wee ones who might get food at school but might not get it at home on a regular basis. It is outrageous that we have so many hungry children in our country.
I don’t hate Fridays anymore. And I don’t hate tuna fish sandwiches.
What I do hate is a society that does not recognize the most basic human right to nutritious food. I hate that the government is trying to impose more strict requirements than those that already exist for people to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
I know that there are so many things to worry about these days. So many causes grab at us for our attention and resources. Many (most) of them are worthy of our time and effort.
For this important cause, I’m asking you, to please, if you have 2 more minutes of time before April 2, 2019 – go to this link and leave a comment in opposition of the stricter requirements for people who need it most to obtain a basic human right to food:
From The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Food Bank:
“Nationwide, at least 500,000 lost their SNAP benefits in 2016 because they were unable to secure steady employment within the three-month time limit. In Massachusetts, roughly 20,000 people lost SNAP. This population includes:
veterans returning from deployments who may be dealing with physical injuries or PTSD;
children aging out of the foster care system;
workers who have been laid off and are unable to find a new job in their geographic location due to lack of available jobs or transportation; and
people who are working but struggling to get enough hours to fulfill the requirement”
We need as many people as possible to submit opposing comments. I thank you in advance for doing so.