I don't have cable so the television that I do watch is via my laptop. Mostly it comes from Netflix or Hulu. So I was watching a show on Hulu and during the commercial break I see an ad for stopping hunger in NY City. The ad has various celebrities talking about the issue. Apparently something along the magnitude of 1.3 million people go hungry in NY City daily. Granted NY City has a pretty high population density but 1.3 million people is incredible. The ad finished with a plea for donations for stopping hunger in NY City.
My first reaction was, "What about everywhere and everyone else? There's more hunger in the world than just in NY City."
My second reaction was, "Why is everyone always asking for money?" I've always found it difficult to ask for money when the majority of the population giving needs it too. I know that's how the world works but I do find it a bit obscene that people with wealth ask the general public for donations.
My final reaction was, "Why isn't our government taking care of this instead of making its citizens foot the bill?"
These were all initial reactions. And as with most things done quickly they are short-sighted. The thing is hunger needs to be stamped out no matter where it is and no matter where we start. Organizations need money to operate and without them a lot of these issues would be left to the wayside. Also, in the end it is the public who will foot the bill no matter what. Whether it is in the form of direct donations or in the form of tax dollars. Besides its a government of the people, by the people, for the people. So when our government isn't taking care of what we want it to, we need to take care of it.
I have an alternative suggestion to stopping hunger. At least here in the US and for at least one day. Imagine that - if we could collectively stop hunger in the entire US for 1 day. That's where we start. For one day we come together as a nation and for one day all the mouths in the US are fed. But here's the best part - we don't give money to this. We don't buy non-perishable food items from the grocery store and donate them in anonymous drop off boxes. You could get away with spending as little as $.01 to do this! Maybe even nothing!!
I'm talking about picking something that you and your family like to eat, go to your local nursery, mail catalog, or neighbor that gardens and get some seed, and plant enough for your family +1. Start small. If you like green beans then plant 2 bush bean plants. One for your family and one for giving away. You don't need to supply your family's entire yearly bounty of beans. But if you want to go for it! Start with something manageable, this is a learning experience for us all. You also don't need to have a yard to do this. A balcony, a window sill, a front stoop, whatever you have can work.
Here's how to get started.
1. Survey what you have available that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight (the more the better!)
2. Sit down with your family and figure out what you guys like to eat - lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, herbs, fruits, there is so much to choose from - have a couple on your list to choose from.
3. Go to your local nursery or garden shop and ask for some advice. Tell them what you have to work with and what you want to grow. They should have the knowledge of your local weather and growing seasons and can help get you started. ADDITIONAL CHALLENGE - see how cheaply you can do this. Scavenge and re-use containers as pots, buy seed vice plants, compost food scraps for fertilizer!
4. Plant your bounty and take care of it.
5. When it gets time to harvest call around to your local food banks and tell them what you'd like to give them. Make sure they can handle the raw materials and if not start searching shelters and charities to give it to.
6. On the day you deliver your homegrown donation make it at home as well and share a meal with the rest of the country.
This has to be the easiest and cheapest way to begin to stop hunger. All it takes is the collective power of our small acts of compassion.