A Little Goes a Long Way
Summertime. Friday afternoon. It was unbelievably hot inside my house, and with one glance I could tell that it was sweltering outside. Letting out a Iittle sigh, I willed my body to move up from the couch I threw myself on and went to the kitchen where I quickly opened the fridge up. Looking over the items, I couldn't help but let out another sigh, this one louder and even more displeased than the last one.
"There is literally nothing in the fridge!" I screeched loudly so my mom could hear me, even as my eyes trailed over the multiple items of food and drink inside. "I'm hungry and hot and I can't even get a decent thing to eat? Wow." After a few more minutes of complaining just because there isn't anything in the fridge I wanted to eat in the first place, I finally settle with a sandwich and a glass of lemonade.
It doesn't occur at all to my ten-year-old self that as I'm eating this meal (that I've thoroughly made sure to let my family know I hate) that another girl my same age is starving somewhere else, unable to complain because there isn't anything in her fridge to make a decent meal.
Eight years later, I am now focusing on writing about hunger and food insecurity for my English class. I was recently shocked by an article I read called "Some Poor U.S Teens Trade Sex for Food Because They're So Desperate For A Meal" by Eleanor Goldberg of the HuffPost. There are teenagers as old as my fifteen-year-old sister, and even younger than her, starving and food insecure. Worst of all, many American teenagers are resorting to selling themselves in exchange for a good meal. They believe there is no other possible path for them but to sell themselves or purposely get themselves caught so they can at least eat decently in prison.
It hurts to know that we as a society have stigmatized food kitchens or food banks as a thing the poor do. We've put such a bad connotation to asking for help and this stigma makes children believe that they have no other path than selling themselves or toughing it out silently. Instead of helping we throw out food that is perfectly good or that we just didn't like, and we continue to live without understanding how potentially dangerous hunger is for our youth. Next time you're looking in the fridge or pantry for something to eat, think about the others who are food insecure and try to donate the food you know you aren't going to eat.