Hunger in America

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Re: Hunger in America

Postby NMP » Thu Jun 17, 2010 6:28 pm

Szdfan wrote:
NMP wrote:Bootstrap and SZDfan....

Each year more than 270 million people die each year due to poverty. How many are in America? How many look like this?

Frankly, I find the argument that our poor aren't poor enough bizarre and the attempt to use the poor of other nations to discredit and delegitimize the poor here obscene...


I have no problem with helping the poor here in this nation. But I doubt access to food is the problem. We are talking about hunger, not lack of wealth. access to food is a real problem in 3rd world nations. Again I ask how many people die each year due to poverty here in America? According to UNICEF, 24,000 children die each day due to poverty. The largest # I could find is 27. While there is poverty here, I am not a big fan of making a mountain out of a molehill.

...Suffering is suffering and I'm not going to rank one group's suffering over another. To judge and rank one person's suffering over another violates my own core values and pastoral identity as a ministering person. I can't do it.

I hope I am never in a car crash anywhere near you. You might leave me to bleed to death while putting band-aids on the scratch of another.


RobertM wrote:
NMP wrote:
The suffering here in America is just as great as anywhere else. But lack of food is not the cause.


Maybe not a main cause, but it is real.

...


I think mostly the problem is lack of ability or knowhow to get the food. Lack of knowledge regarding the price of rice, how to cook with a cheap setup.

Someday I think it would be fun to go into the inner city with nothing and see how well I would do simply armed with knowledge. I think it would be easier than out in the wilderness. Anyone wanna sponsor me? :wink: So much $ (to a charity that feeds children in in 3rd world nations) per day I spend as a homeless person on the street.
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Re: Hunger in America

Postby RobertM » Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:47 pm

NMP wrote:Someday I think it would be fun to go into the inner city with nothing and see how well I would do simply armed with knowledge. I think it would be easier than out in the wilderness. Anyone wanna sponsor me? :wink: So much $ (to a charity that feeds children in in 3rd world nations) per day I spend as a homeless person on the street.


This would be a really interesting thing. Don't tempt me, I might want a piece of this. It would make a really interesting book/article telling the story of your journey too.
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Re: Hunger in America

Postby appleman2006 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:43 am

You could call it "Poor like me".
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Re: Hunger in America

Postby Szdfan » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:06 am

Hi...I do want to respond, but I'm going to be out in the woods for a couple of days without cell phone or Internet connections.
"I don't understand," said Gerald, alone in his third-class carriage, how railway trains and magic can go on at the same time."

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Re: Hunger in America

Postby Bootstrap » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:15 am

First step: do we open our hearts to the poor around us, or do we shut our hearts, shut our eyes, and walk past them?

Second step: are we willing to search for ways to be helpful?

Third step: what ways can we find to help?
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.

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Re: Hunger in America

Postby NMP » Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:15 pm

Bootstrap wrote:First step: do we open our hearts to the poor around us, or do we shut our hearts, shut our eyes, and walk past them?

Second step: are we willing to search for ways to be helpful?

Third step: what ways can we find to help?


Fourth step: sponsor NMP to go into the city on the "poor like me" tour. it does 2 things, feed the truly hungry, and make NMP know what it's like to be a poor American :wink:
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Re: Hunger in America

Postby happymom4 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:42 pm

Yesterday we gave bottles of cold water, cheese sticks and a bit of money to several pan-handlers holding "Hungry, Will Work for Food" signs.

Today I picked up another pan-handler and brought her to my home to clean for several hours. I took her back to her apartment with her tummy full of a good lunch, and some money besides. Was she starving? Probably not literally. But she needs the money to survive. How did I dare bring her into our home?? Because a year and a half ago when she was pan-handling we be-friended her, learned to know and trust her, and then brought her at that time into our home to work. She was a transplant from Mississippi from Hurricane Katrina--moved to our area by FEMA with her family. She WANTS to work, and is a good worker. But finding work she can do with no vehicle . . . .

Now my living room sparkles in the sunlight pouring in through my freshly cleaned windows. And I hope our time together again spread a little of Jesus' love into her life.
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Re: Hunger in America

Postby appleman2006 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:53 pm

happymom4 wrote:Yesterday we gave bottles of cold water, cheese sticks and a bit of money to several pan-handlers holding "Hungry, Will Work for Food" signs.

Today I picked up another pan-handler and brought her to my home to clean for several hours. I took her back to her apartment with her tummy full of a good lunch, and some money besides. Was she starving? Probably not literally. But she needs the money to survive. How did I dare bring her into our home?? Because a year and a half ago when she was pan-handling we be-friended her, learned to know and trust her, and then brought her at that time into our home to work. She was a transplant from Mississippi from Hurricane Katrina--moved to our area by FEMA with her family. She WANTS to work, and is a good worker. But finding work she can do with no vehicle . . . .

Now my living room sparkles in the sunlight pouring in through my freshly cleaned windows. And I hope our time together again spread a little of Jesus' love into her life.

Now that is a unique productive creative way of helping. Thank you for sharing.
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Re: Hunger in America

Postby appleman2006 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:54 pm

Szdfan wrote:Hi...I do want to respond, but I'm going to be out in the woods for a couple of days without cell phone or Internet connections.



Great place to be. I hope you are enjoying your time there.
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Re: Hunger in America

Postby happymom4 » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:44 pm

appleman2006 wrote:
happymom4 wrote:Yesterday we gave bottles of cold water, cheese sticks and a bit of money to several pan-handlers holding "Hungry, Will Work for Food" signs.

Today I picked up another pan-handler and brought her to my home to clean for several hours. I took her back to her apartment with her tummy full of a good lunch, and some money besides. Was she starving? Probably not literally. But she needs the money to survive. How did I dare bring her into our home?? Because a year and a half ago when she was pan-handling we be-friended her, learned to know and trust her, and then brought her at that time into our home to work. She was a transplant from Mississippi from Hurricane Katrina--moved to our area by FEMA with her family. She WANTS to work, and is a good worker. But finding work she can do with no vehicle . . . .

Now my living room sparkles in the sunlight pouring in through my freshly cleaned windows. And I hope our time together again spread a little of Jesus' love into her life.

Now that is a unique productive creative way of helping. Thank you for sharing.


You are welcome. Cindy is actually not the first person begging that we have befriended. We have been friends with a man now for over 5 years that we first learned to know when he--Dale-- was homeless and pan-handling. It took TIME before he learned to trust us, but now our family has a special friendship with him. When we learned his story (in bits and pieces) we started to understand *why* he in particular was homeless/hungry. We enjoy having Dale in our lives, and he goes with us at times to special church events, spends holidays with our family and so on.

We do a lot of praying about how to reach out to the pan-handlers in our town . . . . and pray for God's guidance in whether to only give tangible items and/or money, whether or not to provide work for them (we did for Dale as well various times) and so on.
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Re: Hunger in America

Postby ohio jones » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:33 pm

Szdfan wrote:I'm going to be out in the woods for a couple of days without cell phone or Internet connections.

A "communications desert"? Poor Jeremy. :P

Urban planners are very aware that their counterparts 40-50 years ago made some serious mistakes with regard to public housing design and integration with the surrounding urban fabric. Unfortunately those problems are often irreparable due to scale and lack of funding. The green building rating systems (usually mandated for government funded projects) do provide some incentives by awarding "greenie points" :mrgreen: for locating a building within walking distance of neighborhood services including supermarkets and restaurants, or close to a bus stop or transit station. So you can't force groceries to be built close to public housing, but you can encourage public housing to be built close to groceries.
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Re: Hunger in America

Postby theosis » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:50 pm

the community gardening project is something which interests me, and which came to my mind reading this thread. we have a few such projects in some of the subsidized housing areas of my city. some of the food is raised on plots and everyone pitches in and gets a portion of the food. in other cases, the food is raised by volunteer labour and is then used to either supply food banks, or is boxed and sold at very reasonable prices to those struggling on low incomes. i'd like to see such projects growing in numbers around here. there is even a vegetarian food bank, which supplies mostly fresh fruits and vegetables-alll donated by members of a nearby sikh community which does truck gardening for a living. so much better, and healthier than some of the terrible, processed, unhealthy junk food which is provided at standard food banks.
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Re: Hunger in America

Postby Szdfan » Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:47 pm

Ohio Jones wrote:A "communications desert"? Poor Jeremy

I survived my communications desert last weekend without too many withdrawal symptoms. :wink: I was so far out in the woods that not only did I not have cell phone access, but neither my GPS nor Google Maps were able to provide directions. For a city boy, that’s pretty isolated, but still not as isolated as the Thanksgiving I spent at the Hopi Mission School in Arizona. THAT was isolated.
NMP wrote: I have no problem with helping the poor here in this nation. But I doubt access to food is the problem. We are talking about hunger, not lack of wealth. access to food is a real problem in 3rd world nations. Again I ask how many people die each year due to poverty here in America? According to UNICEF, 24,000 children die each day due to poverty. The largest # I could find is 27. While there is poverty here, I am not a big fan of making a mountain out of a molehill.

NMP wrote: I hope I am never in a car crash anywhere near you. You might leave me to bleed to death while putting band-aids on the scratch of another.

First of all, my apologies if I was overly harsh in my response. My vehemence was rooted in my relationship with broken and suffering people who were dismissed by people in the church for not having the “right” kind or amount of suffering. In my own pastoral experience, the fact that somebody else somewhere else has it is worse is irrelevant. This isn't some kind of zero sum game -- dealing with hunger here doesn't take away from the seriousness of hunger somewhere else and vice versa.

In my experience, arguments for some kind hierarchy of suffering are frequently a way to dismiss the suffering of individuals or a group of people not worthy of our concern.

The question of whether something is a “mountain” or a “molehill” is subjective. You suggest that the dividing line between “mountain” and “molehill” depends on entirely on the amount of people starving to death. Certainly the problem of hunger is more widespread in a third world country than here in North America, but there are many other kinds of consequences to hunger other than starvation, such as negative impact on mental and physical health. According to one of one of the websites that Bootstrap cited at the beginning of this thread, in 2008, 49.1 million Americans lived in “food insecure households” which included 32.4 million adults and 16.7 million children. This is certainly not a 1980’s Ethiopian famine, but at the same time, I don’t understand why this isn’t a serious issue. It’s certainly a serious and relevant issue for those of us who are ministering to people dealing with food insecurity.

I’m also not sure I understand what you mean by “access.” Our grocery stores certainly have food in them. But if I don’t live close to a store, don’t have a car or can’t afford the products, then I don’t have access to it. The 1996 World Food Summit by the World Health Organization noted that food security is "built on three pillars:"
*Food availability: sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis.
*Food access: having sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet.
*Food use: appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.

So you’re right in part when you argue that --
NMP wrote:I think mostly the problem is lack of ability or knowhow to get the food. Lack of knowledge regarding the price of rice, how to cook with a cheap setup.

But it’s only part of the equation – all three elements need to be present in order to have food security. If I don’t have stores in my neighborhood or can’t drive to a store, then I don’t have food security. If I can’t afford the healthy food that’s for sale, I don’t have food security. If I don’t know how to make good nutritional choices, then I don’t have food security.
"I don't understand," said Gerald, alone in his third-class carriage, how railway trains and magic can go on at the same time."

And yet they do.

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Re: Hunger in America

Postby happymom4 » Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:33 pm

You said it well, Sdzfan.

Having been "food insecure" once time especially, and knowing what it was like to be given food pantry food and how hungry we still were each day after eating white flour this and white flour that . . . no, we weren't starving to death, but we weren't healthy either and we almost always had a knawing hunger soon after eating . . . and in fact, as we know now, that was over the time that I developed serious issues with my blood sugar . . . (think diabetes, now controlled basically by diet and exercise etc.) as did our oldest daughter . . . I really feel strongly about this topic.
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Re: Hunger in America

Postby RobertM » Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:46 pm

Szdfan wrote:I’m also not sure I understand what you mean by “access.” Our grocery stores certainly have food in them. But if I don’t live close to a store, don’t have a car or can’t afford the products, then I don’t have access to it.


I had asked about mass transit in your area. Do they have it? Does this help make other stores "accessible"?

I am not asking this to be snooty. I am really curious. If mass transit is not helping resolve this, then what good is it?
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