This insert came in my last month’s cable bill from Armstrong, our local cable provider. The insert alerts Armstrong’s customers about a food drive, benefiting local food banks and soup kitchens. They are sponsoring this food drive during the month of September as part of Feeding America’s Hunger Action Month. The nonprofit organization, Feeding America, started Hunger Action Month in 2008, in an effort to increase involvement nationwide in the fight against food insecurity in the United States. On their website, Feeding America urges Americans to stand up and Pass the Plate, by pledging to take some action to end hunger and then sharing that pledge with friends and family. The web page has a drop down menu of actions from which you can choose–donate, volunteer, contact legislators–or you can write in your own actions.
I like the idea, evoked by my cable company’s flyer, of inflicting harm on hunger on behalf of those who are hungry, and that this campaign will help individuals locally. I also support the call to action encouraged by Feeding America, and that they provide more than one suggestion for how the general population can fight hunger. One person may volunteer because he lacks the extra money to donate. Another may donate money to an organization like Feeding America or items to a food drive, because she lacks the time to volunteer. Charitable organizations who work tirelessly to assist those who are food insecure need both of these people and the resources they bring to bear in the fight against hunger. But the one action we all must must take is the third option provided in the drop down menu–contact our legislators.
The reason all those participating in this Pass the Plate campaign must engage their legislators, at all levels, is because non-profit organizations, all of them combined, can not feed all of the hungry in America. Nor can a cable company avenge hunger. Hunger and food insecurity in the United States is as formidable a foe as any of the Avengers has ever faced. As I have written before, charitable organizations alone can not solve this problem. At best they can provide stop gap measures which only serve as a band-aid on the problem. To really tackle hunger in America requires a strong social safety net and legislation which addresses the root causes of poverty in our country. So continue to volunteer and donate, as what you give enables charitable organizations to provide the stop gap measures those who are hungry need immediately, but also take the time to contact your legislators to insist that the programs which strengthened our social safety net be enacted and that steps be taken to address the root causes of poverty in America. Only then can we truly avenge hunger.