I enjoy "everything bagels" when I just can’t make up my mind what kind of bagel I want. Recently, hungry for a bagel, I also got to thinking about hunger and how hunger issues are really “everything" issues. Consider these issues which often compound the struggle of people living with hunger:
- Health issues. People are prone to a variety of diseases if their caloric intake is not sufficient. They also suffer vitamin and mineral deficiencies, are more prone to contagious disease, and often sleep poorly. Obesity is related as starches and carbs replace healthy vegetables, fruits, and proteins because they cost less.
- Housing issues arise when the difficult choice must be made to pay the rent or purchase food. Having a safe and secure place to live often takes priority, especially over healthy food.
- Economic issues occur when people who live with hunger are unable to concentrate while at work, are often out of work because of illness, or simply are unable to find appropriate work. As jobs go unfilled, the economic issues are everyone’s issues.
- Transportation issues relate to economic issues. Without timely/convenient transportation, people living with hunger are often unable to find a job which works for them. Buses and rapid transit are not always nearby; rides may be long with several transfers. Many people do not own a car nor can afford gasoline to get to work, school, medical appointments, and/or errands.
- Education issues arise when children as well as adults simply cannot concentrate when their stomachs are growling. Learning at school and at work is difficult and attention is lessened.
- Relationship and societal issues prove difficult, too. When money for food is scarce, going out for coffee or a meal with friends, workmates, or family is not an option. Shame appears when one cannot contribute to the church potluck dinner. Shame also keeps some from using a food shelf or government aid (SNAP).
- Environmental issues become more common because of climate change. Floods, drought, wildfires and more damage crops, jobs and homes. Rising costs for food affects all of us who are consumers.
I suspect you could add to this list. Keep thinking of how interrelated these issues are and how those who live with hunger are dealing with “everything" issues.
P.S. Looking for resources related to "everything" issues? Check out the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition and Settled.