Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Hunger Problem for the Foodies

Last week I attended a few lectures on campus, mostly because I had to. One of our professors decided we should attend them during class time, and then have more class time afterwards. Blah!

The first of these was titled "The Hunger Problem for the Foodies" and based on the title, I expected it to be a really good lecture. I wanted the speaker to somewhat "bash" the snooty foodie people.

I was sorely disappointed and ended up leaving the presentation fuming, steaming, and all-out mad at what this guy had said.

Joel Berg is his name, he wrote a book (big deal) and is the executive director of NYC's Coalition Against Hunger. First of all, the man was so overly excited that he was shouting at us throughout the whole hour. That wasn't fun. He started by launching into a long-winded explanation about how things are better now because of government programs (no one gets yellow fever in the US anymore because of government reforms and people's houses don't burn down because we have firefighters). I'll admit that he had a point here.

He detailed food stamps and national school lunch programs, all wonderful. But then he went on to say that the public's canned food drives do not work. Soup kitchens do not work. Food banks do not work!

Yes, people in America are still hungry. But a lot of people are getting the food they need from these non-profit organizations. The only solution sweaty Mr. Berg offered was that the government should fix it all. Yes, they have more power and more money (or do they?). But my point is that I would rather hand someone food directly or to a place where I know they will distribute that actual food than to have the government tax me and take my money and use it for who-knows-what before it actually gets into someone's hungry tummy. In my opinion, government officials get paid too much already, and making a new food program would definitely cost billions of dollars. I wanted to ask Mr. Berg what exactly he was personally doing to help feed hungry people, especially after we heard about how much traveling around the country he was doing and his favorite expensive places to eat in NYC. Ridiculous!

He also mentioned about how he believed that those in poverty are at no-fault. After the presentation, my friends and I talked this point over. Some knew people who were on welfare who decided that they would rather sit back, not work, and collect money because it was easier. They also sold their food stamps for money so that they could buy alcohol, cigarettes, etc.

A lot of people in this country work hard for what they have. Once I get out of school and into the real world, that is what I am planning on doing. Putting my nose to the grindstone, pounding the pavement, working until I can't work anymore (mixed in with some fun of course). I know there's not much money in my industry, but I'm going to be a contributing member of society. Yes, there are people out there who really need the help, but they shouldn't come to depend on it forever.

I was glad to hear that the national school lunch program is so effective, because kids really have no control over what they eat. They need something healthy and they definitely need three meals a day because they're growing, so thanks for signing that in Truman!

I was disappointed and angry at the end of the presentation because I felt that Mr. Berg left us with no solution other than government. It was a "why are you telling us this?" moment. I later spent a lot of time walking around in the evening, thinking about the poverty problem and wondering how my job in the future will help anyone at all.

I know that God has put this passion in my heart to serve people, and I can do it in ways other than through my desserts. I think that I will be in this industry to affect and influence others based on what I have seen and experienced so far. The hunger problem is not up to me but in some small way I will help. I certainly won't wait for the government to do it!


Patti MacLeith said...

Excellent! You get an A+.

Bob Sanchez said...

Nice piece. Couldn't leave this at "1 COMMENTS." Come on, blogspot.

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