Hunger is no gamePublished 6:29pm Tuesday, December 4, 2012
If you missed the Parade magazine inside Sunday’s Washington Daily News, the cover story focused on Howard G. Buffett, the 57-year-old son of Warren Buffett. The younger Buffett owns a 1,400-acre farm in Decatur, Ill., and is working to eradicate food insecurity in America.
In a nation known for having an overabundance of practically everything, food insecurity has become a hidden predicament that affects more than 50 million Americans, including one in five children.
“I never understood how difficult things were in this country, and how they were getting worse,” Buffett said in the Parade article. “In America, hunger is hidden; people are ashamed of it.”
Buffett related the story of his visit to a Decatur soup kitchen that was old and dark. He offered to donate half of the funds needed to build a new facility if the mayor, school board and City Council members served at least one meal there.
The elected officials accepted the challenge.
Now, Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker is taking the hunger challenge one step further. He is attempting to live for seven days on a food budget of $30.
“This is the financial equivalent of the budget provided to people participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, in the state of New Jersey,” Booker said in announcing his decision.
Booker’s challenge began during a Twitter conversation with a follower who told him “nutrition is not the responsibility of the government.”
Booker’s goals are to “raise awareness and understanding of food insecurity; reduce the stigma of SNAP participation; elevate innovative local and national food justice initiatives and food policy; and, amplify compassion for individuals and communities in need of assistance.”
Like many other communities around the country, Beaufort County is not immune to food insecurity. The most recent data indicates that more than 9,100 residents fall into this category.
All of our elected officials should be leading the charge against hunger.
As you prepare for this season of giving, consider giving time, money or both to our local food pantry, Eagle’s Wings.
The need is there year-round, not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas.