When Our Smallest Children Are Hungry …
Friday March 1, 2013: a day of cruel irony. The beautiful, heartbreaking, and inspiring documentary, A Place at the Table, was released, placing hunger in America back on our national agenda. Today 1 out of every 4 American children – that’s right, 1/4 of our children – go hungry, placing us at the very bottom of a UN list of 30 industrial countries.
On this same day, March 1, a dysfunctional national government (triggered mostly by one party which has abandoned responsible governance in order to pledge allegiance to non-stop hyper-partisan warfare) pushed us into the sequester. According to the NY Times, “Policy experts are particularly concerned about cuts to the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children known as WIC, which provides food and baby formula for at-risk families… Up to 775,000 low-income women and their children might lose access to or be denied that aid…”
To up the ante on the irony, although we are at the bottom of industrialized countries on childhood hunger, when it comes to food production per capita, we are still number one in the world! So hunger in America is unnecessary! It not caused by scarcity; it is caused by social policy. And once upon a time, when our social policy was more enlightened and compassion had not yet become a dirty word, we actually approached the goal, in the late 1970s, of ending hunger in America.
So fast-forward to March 1, 2013. When our smallest children, one in four of them, are hungry today, how does our government respond? Unbelievably, tragically, by pushing more of them over the cliff, closer to starvation. Not a big deal according to Senator Rand Paul, who commented, “I believe the sequester is a pittance.”
Thank God, most Americans disagree. A Place at the Table has the potential to spearhead a new social movement, of millions of Americans who are reaching out to get involved, to do what our government can’t or won’t do, to act now, urgently, together, as compassionate, caring human beings.
These people taking leadership are shining examples of what we at One World Lights are calling Global Citizens – serving people in their own communities, each in their own way, reaching out to support each other, animated by the vision of one world for all of us.
A Place at the Table left my heart broken, and inspired. Inspired to reach out and become part of this new movement to end hunger in America. If you are moved to do the same, you can find practical things you can start doing, today, at A Place at the Table.
I don’t know about you, but what gets me out of bed every morning is, I want to connect with my brothers and sisters everywhere who are placing compassion for everyone at the center of their moral compass, and are acting to make it happen. And when a basic existential question arises, a question like – when our smallest children are hungry, what do we do? – to rise up and answer it together in a way that is worthy of who we are.