Sunday, August 01, 2010

Dateline: Choosing between Paying Your Bills and Feeding Your Kids

On Sunday evenings, we tend to watch 60 Minutes on CBS.   Last Sunday (July 25), we tuned into that program and decided that we really weren't all that interested in the topics, so we decided to check in on Dateline on NBC.  There was segment that was of extreme interest to my wife Karen and me.  

The program, entitled America Now: Friends and Neighbors,  addressed hunger and poverty in America.  Karen has seen similar stories first hand through her work as a client advocate at St. Martin's Hospitality Center, a homeless drop-in center in Albuquerque, and I have long been an anti-hunger advocate through my volunteer work with Bread for the World and other organizations.

Here's a quote from the program's host, Ann Curry:
For some, this economy may be turning around. But millions of families are at risk of going hungry in one of the richest nations on earth. The number of Americans visiting local food pantries has jumped 30 percent in the past two years alone. And here, in this rural region of Ohio, the very heart of America, the need is especially urgent...the stories poignant. 
Local Bread member Alicia Sedillo (who was one of our two Hunger Justice Leaders from Albuquerque this summer) also was touched by the program.  Even though the segment addressed the situation of folks in southeast Ohio, it got her thinking about our local situation in Albuquerque.  Here are her impressions:
Although the story talks about the recession and unemployment, it also focused on an important issue of hunger and how one woman took the reigns of her father's ministry of starting a non profit food pantry.  The thing I thought was cool was that she had people write letters on paper plates and she sent them to the White House.  It sounded like a very creative way to have an offering of letters :) 
Also, another thing I have been thinking about is the line of people waiting outside of The Storehouse. I live right down the street from it and sometimes I drive by it on my way to work.  The image of seeing all those people lined up to get groceries is very powerful and I have been struggling with how to use this in order to create awareness about hunger issues in our community. 
(Back in 2005, local anti-hunger advocate Mark Winne, who lives in Santa Fe, referred to The Storehouse in an article he wrote about cuts in nutrition programs for the publication In These Times).
The program speaks for itself, and hopefully it touched many people around the country to examine how we can respond.
If you want to see photographs, transcripts and more of Ms. Curry's impressions, click here

And here is a video:

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