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Food is a major part of everyone’s everyday life. It’s hard to imagine life without it. However, many people do not stop and think that there are in fact people that do not have food in their everyday life. There are people that go days, maybe even weeks with little to no food. How, you may ask, do people not have food to eat every day? Well the answer is simple: money. Food is socially constructed. We tend to not want to eat the eyes of animals although they are considered a delicacy in other countries. It’s our culture, our social construction of what is acceptable. Food is a social inequality due to the fact that it is not available to everyone.
Food is a delicacy, a necessity, a gift. Which isn’t available to everyone. People in poverty do not receive much access to food, to nutrition. You can see men, women, even children digging through trash cans and scouting or begging for food. Usually in big cities or in middle of nowhere towns. These people have absolutely no money or have fallen into an addiction and use any money they get for that addiction. You can go to shelters and see all kinds of people: whites, blacks, hispanics, asians. However, you see more blacks, you see more men. These people do not get a medium rare steak or so much as a chicken and rice plate. They get sandwiches and bags of chips and meals that are enough for their survival. This is not healthy eating. The Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, stated “socioeconomic status was associated strongly with dietary quality, and the gaps in dietary quality between higher and lower SES [socioeconomic status] widened over time”. The lower your socioeconomic status is, the higher your risk of malnutrition and/or starvation.
The worst fact about this situation is that there is tons and tons of food thrown away every single day. Food trashed in homes, in offices, in schools. All while there are people starving out in the streets. Yes, food shelters are a big help and there are even a few (a handful really) restaurants that allow people to work for their food or that allow people to purchase a meal in advance for any homeless person to come in and have a nice meal. There should be more of that implemented. Most of these people are without homes, without money, without family, because of legitimate reasons. Not because they chose to be there, no one would choose to be at the bottom of the totem pole and starve and not be able to support themselves. No one wants to live day by day not knowing when their next meal will be or if they’ll make it to see the next day. No one wants to live that way.
So something people, or at least I know I have, have been wondering is why is food a privilege? Why are there people who do not eat everyday? Why are there people that cannot afford to feed themselves, feed their families? More than one in five children are at risk of hunger. Yet, among African-Americans and Latinos, nearly one in three children are at risk of hunger. Why is that? Because African Americans and Latinos are more likely to be in poverty than any other race. They are more likely to struggle to find a job because employers are unwilling to hire them based on their race or ethnicity or the color of their skin. They struggle on an everyday basis against stereotypes and discrimination and segregation. Yes, segregation does still exist. And unfortunately, it is leading to the end of the lives of many people.
The best way to reduce this crisis is through food stamps, WIC, programs that have been implemented by our government to help these individuals get the nutrition that they need. Our national nutrition programs protect millions of American families from hunger. There are also organizations and volunteers and church groups that take time out of their daily lives to help provide food and shelter and bags with basic necessities for these people. By strengthening existing programs and pitching in to help our own communities, we could do so much more to help end this poverty-stricken hunger in the U.S.
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