Hard times are spreading just like the flu and the Hood Health authors have some tips for you
Many of us are having hard times and are grinding trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents by living check to check. We struggle to pay our bills, rent, food, get gas for our vehicles or buy bus and train fare, pay for day care, and even just to have a little bit of chill money. I’ve found that children have a very difficult time understanding the struggles that adults go through in order to obtain, maintain and keep food, clothing and shelter. They don’t understand the value of a dollar because they are often given things that cost money without having to earn them. When we were younger, our parents would make us earn things and tell us that money doesn’t grow on trees and even though we knew that, we didn’t understand how hard they worked to make money. We didn’t really figure that out until we got our own jobs, started to pay a few bills and got stuck having to decide whether we should buy a metrocard or some new kicks.
I’ve heard children say, “I’m Starving”, and it’s like “Shorty, you just ate two hours ago.” Even though, things may be tight, most of us are really not starving. Most of us have no idea what starvation is. Starvation is when you are so hungry that you body begins to become malnourished, your immune defense is reduced and you body’s overall functionality is impaired. Starvation can eventually lead to death. So, although you may have a few hunger pangs, you’re probably far from starving.
According to the United Nations, nearly 21,000 people die of hunger each day or other causes and diseases resulting from hunger. Most of the people who die are children but others at risk are pregnant and nursing women, elderly people, single mothers, the homeless, the unemployed and even those who are working but are still poor.
The United States is considered to be a country that is “well off”. However, we are plagued with poverty, hard times, hungriness, nakedness and homelessness as well. An organization called Bread for the World said that in 1995, hunger and race are related here in the U.S. They found that more African American and Latino children were hungry far more often than Caucasian children. The Black Panthers knew this was an issue back when they started the breakfast programs. Now, to make ends meet, families begin to buy cheaper, less nutritious foods full of sugar, salt, artificial coloring and flavoring, packed with preservatives and lack vitamins and minerals. Some of us are so used to artificial foods that we don’t even enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. Some families even cut out meals to save money which can eventually lead to malnutrition.
Malnutrition has a direct impact on pregnancy and infant mortality which is often used as an indicator of a country’s health. Children who do survive but are born and raised in underprivileged situations are not able to reach their full potential and are limited in learning. Children between six and seventeen who are homeless have high rates of not only physical health problems due to hunger, including immune deficiency but mental health problems as well including anxiety, depression, and aggressive behavior. Wouldn’t you?
What Can We Do?
1. Knowledge – Learn about how poverty affects your community. Spread the word about the problems impacting your area. You don’t have to change the world. Simple contributions help like helping a neighbor with creating affordable, nutritious meal ideas or teach others how to read and understand ingredients labels on food. Small things can make a difference.
2. Add On – Volunteering is a great way to contribute to change. Find local organizations or start your own if you can’t find one.
3. Manifestation – Write to officials, local business owners, the media, and anyone who will listen. Find an interest in homelessness, hunger and the elderly, infant mortality, unemployment, unequal education, environmental protection or any other issue affecting your community, target it, then attack.
4. Money – Many of your efforts may require money. Fundraising can bring awareness, be fun and be a source of generating funds for the cause. Some ideas can be bake sales, flea markets, day parties, sports play-offs, raffles, talent, art and poetry shows, food drives, community auctions, and fasting or skipping a meal to contribute that the money that you saved to someone in need.
5. Make Personal Changes – You don’t have to become a Vegetarian or Vegan, but know that raising animals for food consumption is an inefficient way to feed the human population. We don’t need meat to survive. Don’t be greedy and wasteful. Give your leftovers to someone instead of throwing them away. Unless you plan to eat them later of course.
SciHonor Devotion, CD, CPD, CCCE, CMA, CWSP is a contributing writer to the Hood Health Handbook set. She is a Labor Doula, Postpartum Doula, Childbirth Educator, Homebirth Midwife Assistant and Womb Sauna Practitioner who serves women and girls in her community through workshop, ceremony and rites of passage. She is also Co-Owner of Queen’s Quisine: Vegetarian and Vegan Catering Company and can be contacted at www.facebook.com/EarthDoulas / SciHonor17@gmail.com / www.facebook.com/QueensQuisine