My wife is a great cook. Her Sunday dinners are a much-anticipated showcase of her culinary skills, and my son and I are the grateful beneficiaries of her kitchen prowess.
My eight-year-old-son, Justin, is the only child, and basically a prince in his mother’s eyes. His menu suggestions are highly regarded by my wife and more often than not, fulfilled.
This past Sunday he requested steak, and as usual in the McCulloch household, his request was granted. For some reason, as I looked at the beautifully cooked, lean cut of beef that my wife presented, a wave of melancholy invaded my spirit, and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude nourished my soul.
I thought about just how fortunate we were to be able to satisfy the nutritional whims of our son.
Despite his cries of “I’m hungry” as he runs to the pantry to indulge himself in the treat of his choice, I know his statement is an exaggeration, and that neither he nor anyone else in our household truly knows the feeling of hunger.
Many of us have seen the gut-wrenching commercials showing graphic images of hungry and malnourished children in less-developed countries around the globe.
Distended abdomens, protruding ribs and tears rolling down cheeks represent those foreign images of hunger that make many of us appreciate where we live.
America may be the land of plenty, but not everyone here is a stranger to hunger.
That piece of steak offered not only nourishment for our bodies, but also food for thought. It led me to my computer, where I fed my curiosity as to the state of hunger in these United States. The information I gathered left me questioning our commitment to addressing domestic poverty and access to the human staple of food.
According to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics furnished by the Food Research and Action Center, 35.5 million people in the United States live in households considered to be food insecure.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, food insecurity is defined as the lack of access to enough food to fully meet basic needs at all times due to lack of financial resources.
So, in a country where we regularly offer professional athletes and entertainers multimillion-dollar annual contracts, and have spent $600 billion on the war in Iraq, almost 36 million of our neighbors struggle to eat regularly.
Even more troubling is the U.S. Census Bureau’s acknowledgement that households with children experience food insecurity at almost double the rate of households without children.
Clearly, we don’t need to look abroad to find hungry children. They are in our own back yard.
The next time you open your refrigerator and go through the mental debate of choosing something that satisfies your craving, keep in mind the millions of our American brothers and sisters who have no choice, because they have no food.
For Food Donation Opportunities in South Florida
Daily Bread Food Bank: www.dailybread.org Phone: 305-633-9861
Florida Association of Food Banks: www.fafb.org