Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Are you grateful?

A couple of weeks ago my family observed Yom Kippur. It is a somber, holy day where we reflect on on our actions during the previous year. We note where we could be better and we say we are sorry for the things we did wrong. This is accompanied by a 24 hour fast. Of course, I'm skipping a bit of the theological significance here.

Though I am normally not particularly religious, this is a holiday I look forward to. People that know me well, often give me a bit of flack for what seems like a sudden surge of religious inspiration. I'm a very spiritual person, but I honestly can't say I am particularly religious. I'd like to think if I wasn't Jewish and just stumbled upon the idea of Yom Kippur, it would still interest me. We don't often get to put aside a whole day to reflect on our lives. So, why am I mentioning all this?

Well, the rabbi's sermon was about hunger. It is a fitting topic for a day when you are fasting. She spoke a bit about the food stamp challenge. If you aren't aware, a number of groups have been pushing politicians to try living on $21 per week. That is the amount currently allotted to someone collecting food stamp benefits. Living on $21 per week is difficult and most people who tried it, found it nearly impossible. You certainly can't afford much fresh fruit or vegetables with that money.

The number itself is accurate, but it is a simplification. Many people getting food stamps are also receiving other benefits. Also food pantries, shelters, and charities provide a buffer for the needy. Perhaps the food stamp program does need reform if it is really the sole means for a recipient to get their food.

While fasting, I looked around my kitchen which is filled with food. I noted my blog where I write about food. Honestly, I even checked out the PPK food porn and some of your blogs. We're all pretty dang lucky. We aren't worried about whether we are going to be able to find a meal, we are busy thinking about what we are going to cook for dinner.

Normally, I donate to charities like America's Second Harvest because 98% of my donation goes to making a difference rather than overhead. I also donate to the local food pantry collection bins at my supermarket. My goal is to do this more regularly.

I challenge you to do something whether it is talking to your friends or family about what they can do, making a donation to Second Harvest or a local food pantry, volunteering somewhere, or even just clicking at the HungerSite every day.

I've got a backlog of food posts which I will get to soon. I've been thinking about this entry for awhile now and wanted to get this out there first.


Vegan_Noodle said...

Thanks Jody for that reminder. It is easy to forget to look around you and realize just how lucky we are. And thanks for the lesson on Yom Kippur, I never really knew what it was.

Lady McHerb said...

Great post Jody. I think the Stamp Challenge is a great exercise and something the "people on the hill" need to spend more time thinking about. I've always had a problem with the fact that we talk about obesity as a national crises but nobody seems to focus on how it's much cheaper to eat at McDonalds than to buy a bag of apples or some broccoli.

I hope that your Yom Kippur was meaningful and enlightening.

MeloMeals said...

Fabulous entry...

when I heard about the 20 dollar challenge, I immediately wrote up a menu to reflect it... but I never followed it.
Several yeras ago, I did, out of necessity. I fed our family of 4 on 300/month for almost a year while my husband was out of work. That was when I began to write down my reicpes. It was very liberating to feed us such good food for so little money.

bazu said...

Jody, this post was so inspirational to me. Even though I try to be frugal, not be wasteful, and be grateful for everything I have, I know I still have an embarrassment of riches where food is concerned. We donate to food shelters and pantries here and there, but I now want to do more. Syracuse has a chapter of "Food Not Bombs" and I'm going to make a greater effort to get involved with them- actually go and cook and serve food with them.
By the way, I admire the (very few) congress people who are trying to follow the $21 challenge...sigh. This world needs change so badly!

Anonymous said...

i like this post!

thanks so much for the reminder!

Unknown said...

This post is a good reminder. In Australia we don't have food stamps, but people on benefits barely have enough income to cover accommodation let alone food.