Happy New Year!
It’s the season of
resolutions – pay off the credit cards, actually exercise, be more patient with
people who bug you. As I write this letter, I just ate my 4000th Christmas cookie
and ordered “just one more” present on-line. Clearly I will be making some of
these resolutions myself, and keeping them I hope, when you read this.
This cookie I’m enjoying
and the macaroni and cheese I’m dreaming of for dinner, remind me of a question
many people ask us: how if we have such an obesity problem in this country, can
we also have a hunger problem? Don’t poor people just need to know how to cook
instead of using their food stamps on junk? Don’t they just need to buy more
fruits and vegetables instead of pizza and chips?
When we dig into that
thought, several relevant points jump out. First, many poor people cook far
better than I do, because they’ve learned from mothers, grandmothers, and aunts
how to stretch food budgets until they squeak and they know how to make meals
out of things that others of us ignore or throw away, like greens and cactus
Second, most people in
our area who are poor are also working and have the same exhaustion at the end
of the day as everyone. Picking kids up from school and day care can lead to
cranky, whining cars full of people and that can make anyone stop at the
fastest food place you can find in order to chill everyone out with a little
fun and a quick bite.
Third, and probably
most important, cheap food is generally less expensive than healthy food. My
cookie and macaroni are inexpensive and filled with fat and sugar. I am not a
nutritionist, but those who are will tell you that healthy bodies need protein
and vitamins in greater abundance than we need fats and sugars. Protein and produce
are expensive: today a gallon of milk is $ 4.05; a 12-pack of pop is $3.33. A
head of broccoli is $3.16 and a box of macaroni and cheese is $.76. Fat and
sugar are also “comfort foods.” If you are having a bad day, do you want to go
home and have a salad or would you rather eat a pizza and a quart of ice cream?
Living in poverty makes every day stressful and comfort food is ….well,
So we learn and teach
and live and love and make resolutions to be less judgmental. Thank you for
your resolutions to help our hungry neighbors be fed and nourished, today and
Susan E. Ogborn
President & CEO