There’s an ancient story about a young man who spends all day hunting and comes back home absolutely starving from his exertions. He’s so hungry in fact that in order to get just a solitary bowl of soup he trades away his inheritance. Now the moral of the story is usually something about not being short-sighted and trading away the future for instant gratification…but this moral misses the most basic of points (not to mention how special that soup must have been.)
This same point hits harder for me everyday when my kids come home from school. These are kids that don’t miss meals; they have breakfast opportunities, get lunch at school and know that unless anything has changed from the previous days of their lives, dinner is on the way. But they arrive home just “famished” everyday and are completely blind to all of the chores, homework and other activities their parents had planned until they get something to eat.
Hunger comes first.
We’ve always known this and now study after study supports it. In the case of children, their ability to perform well academically and even to develop their social skills is impaired by their inability to eat well. But it’s not just kids and it’s not just academics. It’s everyone who has to worry about where and what they’re going to eat next. Because if you’re worried about what’s to eat you really can’t worry about anything else.
Many years ago Abraham Maslow very helpfully listed a whole lot of good things that can’t be achieved if our most basic physiological needs aren’t met. Things like morality, problem-solving, self-esteem, friendship, employment and health. Good Maslow, very good.
So when it comes to the 50,000,000 plus Americans who cannot supply for themselves or their families the amount and quality of food necessary for healthy living, getting them fed comes before all of those other good things they want and need and must be the priority of the compassionate communities they live in.
When we throw away close to 40% of the food available to us, there’s no reason our neighbors have to be stuck at this most basic of levels.
Community Plates and its food-runners are freeing food insecure Americans to focus on bigger and better things, one food rescue at a time. Direct-transfer food rescue solves this needless, escalating, all-consuming problem.