Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Can I Get That Super-Sized?

By
More by this author
In some cities in the United States one can see miles and miles of restaurants where people can choose from many different cuisines, from Mexican to Chinese to Italian to Japanese and much more. Aisles and aisles of food fill grocery stores throughout the country, and our farming industry is one of the most prolific in the world. The abundance of fast food chains is mind-boggling, and each day customers ask to "super-size" their meals. Yet in every major city in the United States there are children and adults who go to sleep at night without having eaten all day. Millions of people drive under freeways on their way to work and observe the damaging effects of hunger: men and women reduced to skin and bones, bent over from the constant knots in their stomach; children, huddled together, wondering when they will eat again. How can America be considered one of the most obese countries, when at the very same time many of its citizens are malnourished and starving? Hunger affects every part of life, and without proper nutrition, no one would have the ability to take advantage of the opportunities our country has to offer: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I dream of an America where no citizen falls prey to the ravages and despair of hunger.
Terry Bischoff, CEO of the greater New York American Red Cross, reports that the current recession of the country has lead to a decrease in charity funds for the hungry, both from everyday people and large corporationsTrotta, Daniel. "U.S. charities resisting recession, but hardships ahead." Reuters. Feb. 2009. 19 Nov. 2009 <http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUSTRE5147NJ20090205>. . Rather than donating to a food bank, shelter, or soup kitchen, Americans are wary to give money due to restrictive family budgets. Though many believe hunger to be only a problem on far away continents like Africa or Asia, the same graphic images of deathly thin children and adults exist in America. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2008 an astounding 14.4 percent of all adults and 22.5 percent of all children in the United States were considered food-insecure"Hunger in the U.S." Food Research and Action Center. Nov. 2009. 10 Nov. 2009 <http://www.frac.org/html/hunger_in_the_us/hunger_index.html>. . With the abundance of food in this wealthy country, why do we have so much hunger?
Hunger--a continuous, vicious cycle that permeates the lives of poverty-stricken individuals. Children unable to escape the cycle are among the worst victims of hunger. Malnutrition hampers normal brain development, increases susceptibility to disease, and stunts growth. Often, before completing their education, children are forced to drop out of school and seek jobs in order to stay alive. Without an education, they can only hope for minimum wage jobs, where the fear of hunger continues into their adult life. If they have children, the cycle begins again. Each child is worthy of the chance to dream and grow and prosper, to live a healthy, happy life. No child deserves the aches and pains, the tears and toils of malnourishment. Food-insecure--those who are unsure of having a meal each day--lead difficult lives, sometimes resulting in the loss of their homes, especially in an economic recession. Hunger can lead to depression, hopelessness, and other severe and damaging psychological disorders. Children can lose their hope for the future; adults, their hope for the present, as well as their will to live.
Some people may argue that the present state of the economy prohibits the end of hunger. The weak economy does impose restrictions on monetary contributions to organizations which help combat hunger; but each of us has the ability to donate time. Through community service, anyone can help to begin the process of eliminating this tragic issue. Simple contributions of time can often be the most helpful: working at a food bank, passing out packaged meals to the homeless, or delivering meals to home-bound senior citizens. Though the coordination and planning to reach the hungry throughout the nation seems an enormous task, it is a realistic goal with the advanced technology in the United States. The movement to end hunger will reach from Los Angeles to New York, Austin to Detroit.
Thomas Jefferson first suggested in the Declaration of Independence that every man had the equal opportunity to succeed in America. Our country is often referred to as the "Land of Opportunity;" however, this is a misnomer for the millions of hungry people residing in our country today. We have landed a man on the moon, we have cured polio, we have invented a computer that fits in our hands; yet, we cannot eliminate national hunger. The United States cannot continue to grow and prosper as a nation as long as one-fifth of its citizens remain bound by the chains of starvation. We can resolve the persisting issue of malnutrition in America with the help of volunteers across the country, and through unity and commitment, we can realize my American dream of no individual living a day in hunger.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback