“You’re Not Even Worth Food”

Have you ever had a moment when someone says something that pierces through you? A statement that strikes you so hard that it causes a seismic shift in your worldview? I had one of those moments today. When I heard it, I stopped singularly focused on absorbing what I’d just heard while the world spun on without me.

Let me explain.

Today, I was listening to a conference call discussing food insecurity. Specifically, the psychological impacts that food insecurity has on school-aged children. After a few hours of listening to researchers define the scope of the problem, and clinicians discussing the research, we finally got to hear from folks on the frontlines – and that’s when I heard it, one of the social workers flatly said, “we’re telling our children, ‘you’re not even worth food.'”

Let that sink in for a moment. Through our collective choices as a society and through our actions, we’re telling kids across the country that they’re so unimportant that we can’t even bother to make sure that they are well fed.

They’re not even worth food.

How can we consider ourselves a good and just society when we can’t be bothered to ensure the nutrition needs of our children are met?

How can we expect to build up a child’s self-esteem while we’re simultaneously creating so much anxiety in them as to whether or not they’ll go to bed hungry?

At its core, a society must be judged on its ability to meet the basic needs of its people. We’re not only failing our children, we’re failing our future.

Yes, I know we have a hunger problem in America. Yes, I know that the pandemic has made it worse. But not once did I ever consider that through our actions we’re telling people – particularly kids – that they mean so little to us that we can’t even be bothered to muster the energy and resources to feed them.

I hope this has struck you in the same way it struck me. I hope you’re mad. I hope you find a way to speak out against this injustice.

Every person is worth food. Period.

Photo credit: Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash