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A Sandwich Demands Respect!

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“Ick! My mother packed me the grossest lunch. I'm going out to buy some REAL food. Anyone coming?”

“Definitely, we only had leftover tuna in the fridge, and I don't feel like eating that.”

“Right with you!”



All of us have seen this happen or done it ourselves: our food isn't exactly to our liking, so we thoughtlessly throw it way, and get something else. It's not a big deal, right? I beg to differ. Americans don't appreciate nearly enough the food they have. I know, we hear lines like that from our grandparents all the time. But have we ever really stopped to think about how little we value our food? With all the talk of being environmentally friendly and globally responsible, you would think we might care a little more, but we don't. We play party games with materials such as eggs, which, in less-fortunate countries, are considered precious ingredients. We thoughtlessly throw away leftovers from meals because we can't be bothered to save them for the next day. We consume so much food that, in fact, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, over 2/3 of our adult population is overweight or obese, meaning they've had enough plus much more. It's fairly obvious that our food isn't respected or highly appraised.


The United Nations World Food Programme states that 925 million people- that's more than all of the USA, Canada, and European Union- go to sleep hungry every night. We're not talking about the “Boy, I sure wish I had a before-bed snack right about now,” kind of hunger but rather the kind that few of us have ever experienced, a deep, aching pain. The #1 priority for most people waking up from a night like this is how they will manage to acquire even one single meal, whereas complaining starts immediately over here if a Starbucks coffee doesn't make it into our hands for breakfast.


You might argue, we really aren't that bad, right? Obviously we recognize it's importance, for we would die without it. And don't we all try to do our best to help the poor, and give every once in a while to hunger relief efforts? The 30-hour famine is a program put on to help raise awareness of the food crisis around the world, as well as raise funds for it. 500 000 youth from 21 different countries take part in annually, and participants agree not to consume anything aside for water for 30 hours. Having personally fasted for this long, I remember counting down the minutes to when I could eat again, knowing that there was a refrigerator, two freezers, a pantry, and kitchen cupboards at my disposal for any culinary delight to satisfy my fancy. Destitute people don't have this option. We've known emptiness...but not hunger or starvation. Food has never been life-or-death to us. We shouldn't feel guilty for the fortune we have, but we should feel thankful.


Another reason to respect our food is because it isn't just something that hits the supermarket shelves out of thin air. A lot of money, effort, and resources goes into producing food, and it wouldn't be an exaggeration to put that more colloquially as blood, sweat, and tears. Additionally, most people don't realize what it all takes to get the food – often coming from places such as South America- all the way to cities. On top of that, discarding the rest of your sandwich isn't just inconsiderate to the producer, but to the environment which sustains you. Plenty of water and natural gas, along with other resources, are used in food production.


As you can see, food is something that is highly valued all over the world....yet we seem to forget that. So the next time you're tempted to raise protest at your sister for taking the last of the Cheerios, or gripe at your mother for making rice again for dinner, stop and think exactly how big of a deal it is anyway, and then be thankful you have anything at all.




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HopefulWolfThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm:

This is so unique and remarkable! My appreciation for food completely altered. Lots of kids in my grade throw out their lunches as a joke or because they're terrified of calories/fat. I never really saw the point; if I'm not hungry, I take my sandwich home and eat it later.

Congratulations for being such an awesome writer!

 
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