friday reflections

Just a few Friday reflections today… it’s been a busy week that has pretty much gotten by me. 

Perusing Yahoo News at lunch today, I see that world hunger has now reached one billion people.  Isn’t that amazing?  One billion people.  With all the advances in food production, supply chain, global logistics, awareness and compassion, this number has steadily risen to what it is being reported today.  I suppose it will be more tomorrow. 

I did a presentation on child hunger last night at the Valley of the Sun United Way offices, and found myself in conversation with one of the attendees, a middle-aged female instructor at one of the local community colleges in Phoenix.  She was explaining how the school had recently in essense set up a food bank for students, where they could grab a can of soup from a closet nearby and quickly microwave it in the next room over, no one the wiser.   College students are also increasingly turning to SNAP (food stamps), something that had never even crossed my mind when I was an undergrad a dozen or so years ago.  Between incredible tuition inflation and the economy, I suppose most of them genuinely need it.

My presentation had focused on the numerous resources and programs there are dedicated to fighting child hunger, and the instuctor surmised that the real issue was a lack of communication: so many programs, so many advocates, yet no one-stop shopping where people in the need or people wondering if they’re in the need could go.  I suppose if someone can crack that nut, they’ll have discovered the next big thing and profit handsomely.  But the internet–the key to recent communication innovation–eludes those who need these resources, as they oftentimes can’t afford access and may not know their local library is an access resource.

A commonly held view in food banking, and one I agree with, is that hunger is a distribution problem, not a food manufacturing one.  There’s plenty of food to feed those one billion, but it’s concentrated both by physical location and class that many go without.  That’s a supply chain problem, but it’s also a capitalistic one: people and companies that make food need to make a profit off of it.  But could they give more and sacrifice some profit margin?  Should they?  What is the obligation?  Oddly enough, if someone or some entity were willing do so and made huge in-roads, they would likely be greeting with fortune and celebrity that might offset the lost cash profits.  In today’s culture, I find it somewhat surprising that no one has truly taken that risk. 

But the instructor was right:  communication is a problem in the local here-and-now, and agencies and programs struggle to get the word out about how they can help those who need it.  Twitter connects those in the know, but what app connects those in the know with those who aren’t?


2 Responses to “friday reflections”

  1. ‘Twitter connects those in the know, but what app connects those in the know with those who aren’t?’

    Very wise question.
    That makes Twitter elitist yet unsafe to virus.

  2. I am not sure how to make this a more pressing issue in our community. It is obvious to me that there are more people who are hungry and those who aren’t seem more scared. It is a bad combo.

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