It seems we often start off the year with a list of things we want to change about ourselves. Most take this turning of the time as symbolic of an opportunity to shed bad habits. I find it funny; the beginning of the holiday season is full of thankfulness, the middle turns into consumer frenzy as we prepare for Christmas, and at the end we want to get back to “real life” just as much as we dread it. We resolve to lose weight, cook more, budget better, drink less; every thing we indulged and enjoyed throughout the past couple months we take away.
While nothing is wrong with good intentions for change, let us not forget the gratitude we first felt in the beginning of the holiday season. If you are reading this post you have so much to be thankful for and are blessed beyond measure. So many people give back to communities who are less fortunate on major holidays but these same communities are forgotten come January. Think about the last time you didn’t eat all your food, let something spoil because you didn’t cook it in time, or simply ate so much you felt sick.
Now think of this:
Hunger in America exists for over 50 million people. That is 1 in 6 of the U.S. population – including more than 1 in 5 children.
This topic of hunger has been on my mind for the past few days because of three experiences. The first ongoing experience is working for rich people. They throw everything away! The amount of waste is actually sickening. Over the past four years sadly, I have tried to ignore it. The other two experiences happened on the train. One man asked me if I had anything to eat. At first I declined but then remembered I had an apple, which I offered. He refused it, saying his teeth couldn’t bite, and asked if I had any soft foods. Another man found a bag of left behind groceries on the train. He looked like he had hit the jackpot but his excitement quickly faded as he pulled out almond milk, cherries, and other health foods. He literally looked at them as I imagine a caveman would look at a cell phone. These experiences won’t allow me to ignore the waste any longer. How can some have so much and some have too little when there really is enough to share?
While clearly this post isn’t going to solve hunger I just want to remind everyone while we are in the spirit of changing ourselves and being grateful. Giving back doesn’t always mean volunteering, making huge gestures, or giving up your time. While those things are awesome, they don’t help if you ignore the issue the rest of the year. Small simple consistencies are what makes the world go round.
Here are a few ideas to make everyday habits.
Educate yourself on United States and worldwide hunger.
At least if it’s in the back of your mind, you can’t say you didn’t know.
This is an excellent place to start:
Buy only what you need, don’t go to the grocery store hungry.
This will reduce the amount of things you throw away every week.
If you live alone freeze half of whatever you buy.
Bread, cheese, and meat freeze lovely.
If you live alone buy frozen veggies.
I don’t typically condone frozen foods, but this prevents a lot of waste. Also, frozen foods are typically frozen at the peak of ripeness.
Carry nutrigrain bars on your person if you live in a big city to distribute should someone ask you for food.
This may be an extreme case of niceness/crazy but something about that man really touched me, and I felt so bad.
Find a local shelter/family that may accept extra food.
If you have a big party, find yourself wasting what you cook, or work for rich people (this is on my to do list), maybe a church will know of a family in need.
If you have time volunteer on a monthly basis
This will definitely humble you and make you very grateful and less gluttonous.
If you have money contribute to worthy causes.
It doesn’t have to be a lot. I often think how far my twenty dollars could go for someone else, and I wouldn’t even miss it.
Contrary to popular belief, hunger is not bestowed onto lazy people, it’s a real life issue that is really just unfair. Play whatever part you can in reducing the problem. Happy New Year!