The other day it was on the TV show “60 Minutes,” today on Dr. Oz : A documentary on the new face of hunger in America. I speculate these shows are to show those who are not in that position that most people who do have to rely on food stamps and food banks are not lazy, nor are they illegal immigrants.
Nope, a lot of them are people like me—hard working individuals who downsized already until there is not much to take away and who have lost their jobs or who struggle with rising prices while wages stay stagnant. Also, they feature people who previously gave and donated, but now find themselves in a position to have to ask for charity. These shows also illustrate that it can happen to anyone, regardless of how much money they have now, or had before.
These shows evoke different emotions in me. I know I should not watch because the stories I hear are sad. Also, in the case of the ones who have it worse I feel guilty that I still have more. Then again, the ones who have more and rely on help make me wonder and debate if they should not have waited until they have less. Then I feel guilty for being judgmental.
But, there is also a strange kinship, like when they talk about the embarrassment it causes to use a foodstamp card or to walk into a food pantry. I still keep my foodstamp card face down when I take it out to swipe it, as if I am fooling anyone! The clerk knows. But, I figure the people behind me need not know. Even just a few weeks ago I would have never talked openly about having one. I suppose denial equals a semblance of dignity.
Anyway, at the end of the Dr. Oz show they gave a phone number for anyone who has trouble getting food. I haven’t called it so am not sure what services it links to, but here it is: 1-866-3HUNGRY