This Thursday, March 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the North Community Building, Kansas Appleseed is hosting a panel discussion on food insecurity in Allen County.
We see people who live with food insecurity everyday. It is an issue that a great number of our citizens struggle with.
At Humanity House, we see the elderly, the disabled, the working moms and dads, and the under- and unemployed.
Believe it or not, most people don’t like to be hungry. Most people don’t like knowing that they have nothing to eat or nothing to feed their children. Food insecurity changes everything about a person’s life. If you think back to a time when you went on a diet, you can probably recall that you spent a lot of time thinking about food. It is uncomfortable to be hungry. It’s hard to concentrate. You feel weak and tired. For many this is not a diet: this is a way of life.
For the elderly, no matter how hard they have worked in their lifetime, they now have to choose between food and medicine, or food and utilities, or food and rent.
For the disabled, it is living on six or seven hundred dollars a month and trying to figure out how to pay for rent and utilities or buy medicine and food. If you have a magic formula for this, you should bring it by our office.
For the working poor, it’s working at a low paying job or two low paying jobs and having your SNAP benefits cut because you have an income, no matter how small it is. It’s facing your children after working the jobs and still not having enough food to last for the month. It is trying to budget so that your children eat, when you might not. It is free breakfast and lunches so that dollars can be stretched for evening meals and weekends.
For the unemployed and ineligible for SNAP it is just plain starving. It is waking up hungry and going to bed hungry. It is hoping that the Humanity House food pantry has food, or hoping that it has been three months since your last visit to the other food pantry. These are people who are unemployable for a variety of reasons. They apply for jobs but are never hired.
Then there are the people who have a substance abuse issue. Should they be denied food? Should their children be denied?
To solve the issue of food insecurity the first steps would be to open your eyes without judgment, and open your heart. Make it easier for people to get help when they need it. Sometimes it is only a single instance. Sometimes it is an ongoing way of life.
Every human being deserves nourishment, no matter their circumstance. To say otherwise is inhumane.
This forum is very important. If you have a difference of opinion, we need to hear it. We all learn from listening to others. Please find the time to participate. It could be the two hours that changes your life.
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