Yesterday was “Hunger Action Day” in Los Angeles as declared by Hunger Action LA, a group that works “to end hunger and promote healthy eating through community education, outreach, networking, and empowerment of low income people to speak on issues that affect their lives directly.” As we all know, there are more and more people who are experiencing at least temporary low income, as the economy slides further down and more people lose their jobs. Despite what the economic pundits are saying about the economy recovering, there are families who just cannot afford to put enough food on the table, let alone eat healthy.
Yes, it’s a time of belt-tightening for the state of California, and for many states. Yes, there are tough choices to be made. But what is tougher than the choice a hungry parent must make when the money runs out and she doesn’t have any food? Or diapers?
When Hunger Action LA staged its rally at Los Angeles City Hall yesterday, they were protesting the budget cuts to emergency food programs, which help low-income families at least feed themselves. With more people turning to food pantries for help, and less donations pouring in to those charities, help is needed now more than ever, from whatever source is available. When you so generously donate diapers to needy folks in your community, consider adding a donation to a food pantry as well.
I have always been skeptical about food stamps, welfare, government assistance. It seems like a huge drain on tax revenue, and one that should be used only in an emergency and only if the money is available. However, there’s no denying that for many people, this is a time of emergency. Soundbites from yesterday’s rally included stories about parents who go hungry so they can feed their kids. People who eat one meal a day. Elderly citizens who worked their whole lives and paid taxes, only to find their funding cut. And what about the moms who have to choose between food and diapers? They are doubly screwed.
I don’t have an answer for the state budget cuts. Everyone wants their programs to stay in place, for the state to cut the budget somewhere else. But in this case, it doesn’t seem right to take food away from hungry children.
[photo by Ashley Nobis from flickr.com]