By Susan Brockway
The last two weeks have been a struggle for my adopted family. She has lost some of her hours at work and is really struggling with fuel prices. We have talked twice and shared 3 recipes. I have made a commitment to her to share from my garden, which is finally in the ground after large spells of rain.
I have been shopping 4 times and it continues to amaze me what people of all socioeconomic groups are putting in their carts and what is NOT being included. Since I grew up in a home where we did not spend money on the limited non-nutritious food that was available, I am still saddened when I see struggling moms and dads so tired after working two or three jobs, spending money they don’t have on packaged meals with little to no nutrition. What is the answer?
I am still optimistic that working one-on-one with families will help. I have heard from some of you who have also done the same. Maybe a grassroots movement is what we need to look at in the future, making a difference one person at a time and then empowering them to do the same.
In addition, flooding in the Midwest is going to be a repeat crisis of New Orleans, but with a twist. While driving through Iowa in the past week I saw green fields of rolling hills, and picture perfect farms. Cities like Cedar Rapids and Iowa City have experienced more water than ever intended, and the real victims are going to be middle class families who thought they were insured, but will find there is nothing to start over with. Many of their homes will be much like those in New Orleans, inhabitable.
We will have people screaming for reasons why this happened, while we have not yet addressed why it happened in a city of rich in tradition and music and culture almost three years past. Having spent a good deal of time in states hit by Hurricane Katrina, I can tell you the only difference between what people feel in the lower ninth ward and Cedar Rapids is a change of zip code. I predict food banks and their agencies are going to see an increased surge of people needing resources, only to find their federal state dollars cut because someone is going to have to pay the billions, not millions needed to get people back on their feet. And this, like Katrina is going to be a multi-year financial nightmare.
My family in Northwest Arkansas, much like families hit by Katrina and now the floods and tornadoes of 2008 have one thing in common: They are hardworking and trying to make ends meet.
My question for you today: What can you change today to make a difference? Let me hear from you…agree to disagree, but get in the game while we have a game to play.