One Step at a Time

January 20, 2010
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Have you ever looked at the big picture of poverty in our world? Have you done anything to help? Do you take your life for granted? Many people don’t notice the poverty throughout all different parts of the world. We take our life for granted and don’t realize how good we have it compared to other people. We tend to reflect on how our lives could be better, rather than looking at the big picture in life. There are currently 35.1 million people that live below the poverty line in America. 12.9 million are children. There is 100 billion pounds of wasted food each year. What does this show about our society? Can we fix this and potentially help more people by just one little act? Within this essay, everyday Americans need to realize the societal problems and try to discover ways to help.

I feel that many people don’t realize the poverty that is going on now in Kentucky. There are people living in homeless shelters, on the streets, and without education. While some people help a lot with this problem in Kentucky; many don’t. How many unused clothes are in our closets? These could be taken to Wayside Christian Mission, Salvation Army, and the Center for Women and families. Why do we keep them in our closet without use when there are people that don’t have a closet full of clothes for all seasons like we do? When its cold and we have coats to wear, some of the homeless don’t even have warm clothing to keep them warm. We also don’t realize the amount of food we waste and in which we don’t care about wasting. There are many families that can’t afford to feed their children, and yet we have a pantry full of food to choose from at all hours? Anyone could donate to Dare to Care and help families be fed or work at the Soup Kitchen to feed the homeless that come in there everyday. Kentucky is currently 5th in the country regarding poverty and with other people’s help this could dramatically be lessened. There is an area, not far from us, that is experiencing three times the national poverty rate. It is in Appalachia, Kentucky where families and kids are in the poorest conditions that could be experienced. It is in this area where there is a large amount of prescription drug use, toothless ness, cancer, and chronic depression. This is an area that isn’t far from us and is one of the nation’s poorest areas. Their income for that area is $841. That is hardly enough for a family to be fed every night. We could do so much to help these kids in this area get a better education and have food every night. Many of us don’t realize the areas near us that have nothing and if we found ways to help, then potentially one kid’s day could be changed. Do you go out to eat every week? That money could be used to buy for those that need it more than us, when we can eat what we have at home instead of spending it on lavish meals. We can stop buying five dollar Starbucks drinks, which puts a damper in our pockets, but we still are able to get them. If we can contribute this money to those that need it, then we can help lessen this poverty.

Americans tend to get caught up in their own lives without looking at helping others who are worse. We complain about needing unnecessary items and some of us constantly want more and more. I found a quote; “If you haven’t all the things you want, be grateful for the things you don’t have, and wouldn’t want”- Unknown. I believe this quote means to be thankful for what we don’t have but would never want to have. Some of us don’t think about how we can help and some of these shelters are left needing help from volunteers. We need to become more thankful for what we have and not lavish in unneeded items. How much have you bought in the past month? What about all of those Forever 21 clothes that we constantly buy? Did you desperately need it? If we cut back on unnecessary spending, then this money could be used to help the poor. While some people are living on the streets, we live in a protective and sheltered home with a warm bed. We can also cut back on how much money we spend and start donating what we don’t use or don’t want anymore. Americans could become more aware of what they waste. Everyone should realize how much they waste electricity, food, and anything that someone could possibly use. If we started to cut back on this, then we could help improve our society. Some people may think that they don’t need to get involved with our community to help out, but we do. Shelters are always looking for help and anything we contribute will help.

Poverty throughout America is unbelievable, and as we think some parts are flourishing there are parts that are struggling desperately. Within the U.S, 3.5% of U.S. households experience hunger. This means that at this second, there are kids our age without a warm meal. We have countless amounts of food to choose from everyday and people living in these poor areas don’t even have an option of what type of food they get. This is 9.6 million people without food in America. While these people are hungry and without food, we waste the food that we are given. A person usually wastes about 13o pounds of food each year and about 49 million people could have been fed with the total amount of wasted food. As some people may not, many people look at this and want to do all they can to help. A good friend of mine, Wesley Korir, born and raised in Kenya experienced poverty all throughout his life. He had little food and not many clothes to spare. When he was recognized by cross country coaches in the United States, he had the opportunity to escape Kenya and come to the Americas. He did, and he went to the University of Louisville and ran cross country and track for them. He has come an extremely long way since he moved, and he is now trying to help people in Kenya. He is working on raising money to build an orphanage their and he goes back every year to care for people and to see his family. He has put a lot of time to helping others, and we can too. From becoming friends with him, I have wanted to help more people and volunteer more because of his story. As many people can say “ I don’t have the time” or “I’ll donate in a little bit”, that isn’t enough. We don’t have time for excuses. When you say this, do you end up donating? Most likely, that “little bit” turns into never. A lot of us take for granted how good we have it and there are so many ways to help, but not many people put in the effort to improve these statistics. There are some people that look at the homeless and think that they brought that condition upon themselves, and that it is their fault they are living on the streets with nothing. I encourage everyone to look past that and do all they can to help.

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do” Edward Everett Hale. This quote reflects on how every one of us can make a difference in our world. We can help the needy, sick, and hungry. We can do so much to make this a better society and we can think about helping others before ourselves. Anyone that reads this should definitely be able to depict the problems in our world and society and find more ways to help. There are so many organizations that we, as teenagers, can get involved with to help around the community. We can take part in everything that Assumption offers like Dare to Care and bring in cans to feed the hungry. It doesn’t take much time to pick out some cans, so why can’t we bring them in? There are people like you living everyday without food and shelter. You think your life is hard? Can you imagine? One little action can help so many people. Get involved in local shelters and organizations and help by beginning to make Louisville a better place.

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