Monday, December 7, 2009
In this Community of Plenty
I live in a nice community in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. I heard today that the poorest of our poor are still in the top ten percent in the world for privilege. I thought, how lucky we are, how fortunate to live here, in this land of plenty.
Then I went to the school council meeting. I volunteered at the last meeting to see if we could find enough volunteers to implement a nutritional snack program. It would be entirely funded by a special program of the county, be universal for all children regardless of need and would provide a snack daily from each of the three main food groups, vegetable or fruit, protein, and Carbohydrate. They all have to be fresh and have strict nutritional guidelines. After a month of promotion, a story in the local community newspaper(Thank you Tavistock Gazette!) this community stepped up! We have the volunteers and the go ahead to start the program in January.
Then I came home and mentioned to my daughter about this program. I had gotten an idea of the need of some of the children and was curious as to if there was any child in her class without food. She proceeded to tell me that there is a child who comes to school every day with little or no food. In an abstract way I knew this happens but to know, concretely, in this wonderful town of plenty, that this child and likely her siblings are hungry breaks my heart. I worked hard to hold back the tears until my children were asleep. My daughter also said "If they didn't have the no sharing of food policy I would give her some of my lunch." How difficult for other children to watch and to have a rule that prevents them from sharing. I understand the dangers of food allergies but this is hunger. I'm brainstorming ways to help this child that doesn't interfere with her dignity, or her privacy. Sometimes the rules that protect us are frustrating in how they also limit us.
Now that I do know, what do I do? First I emailed some people, then I came on here to blog. Now I wait for some answers. This nutritional program doesn't start until January. That's a long time and this is urgent.
The fact is though, that in this community of plenty this should not ever happen. In this community that jumped in to help with the nutritional program, this will no longer happen. We are going to fix this and see that it doesn't happen again. In this community of plenty, children shouldn't ever go hungry.
But unfortunately they still do. I heard Justin Trudeau speak once for two hours and I remember one sentence stood out to me, though his entire message was inspiring.
He said "Life isn't fair" then he paused for a moment and said "but it ought to be."
In this community of plenty "It really ought to be."
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