In my mail at work the other day I received a copy of “For I Was Hungry,” an editorial series run this summer by the central Maine newspapers the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. The series is about hunger in Maine, manifested in what has come to be called “food insecurity.” Food insecurity is, depending on who you choose to listen to and believe, just a fancy term for hunger, or a more precise and measurable way of expressing how certain you are of your next meal.
Working in a local government that operates a food pantry, I have some direct experience with poverty and hunger in our area. But “For I Was Hungry” helped bring into focus many of the causes and effects of hunger in our own country, our own communities, or our own homes. Reading the comments posted on the articles also left me with a sense of how deeply conflicted we are when faced with an issue like hunger, how easy it is to find fault with other people, and the lengths to which people will go to deny that there is a problem.
Reading this series reminded me of another, “Hunger in America,” run by National Public Radio in 2005. Honestly, though being busy with work and family has kept me from posting about this sooner, I also have had a hard time figuring out just what I think about this, this and another major social issue I posted about recently, health care (also a subject at BrianKaneOnline today). Actually, what I think about the existence of hunger, the lack of inadequate health care and a dyfunctional health care delivery system in our country can be summed up in one word: WRONG. That said, I have been trying to come up with a more articulate and well-reasoned statement and just can’t.
The causes of hunger, as they are for the state of health care and health care delivery, are many, interrelated, and complex. But saying that they are large, complex problems simply cannot be an excuse to do nothing. That we will not be able to come up with the “perfect” solution, a “silver bullet,” does not mean we can’t do anything.
The question is, where to start?
Guess that mailing had its intended effect.