Sesame street as of last night has introduced a new puppet, Lily, who is food insecure. Not sure how many of you still watch sesame street since I’m sure most of my readers are over the age of ten. Either way, Its a very important topic to me that hits home just a little. I am not from the wealthiest of families, I’m not even from a middle class family. I am from a single mom, single income, scraping by on a shoe string budget with no frills and second hand shoes kinda family.
I remember as kid seeing commericals that even now as an adult I can see if I watch tv for more than 45 minutes. Commercials focused on feeding the children of africa? Or the children of mars? I’ve always been the brightest bulb in the bunch and I remember thinking to myself “Wheres my commercial?”. I didnt catch on at first, but so many times in my childhood I remember my own mother not eating and when i would ask her why her simple reply would be “I already ate” or “Im not hungry babe”. I still think back on the way it made me feel when i realized exactly what was going on.
The most painfully vivid memory that will forever haunt me now, and I imagine well into my future when I have children of my own, was one particular day when my mom tried to make things seems better than what they were. Something she always tried hard at and even when she failed I never let her know. She knew we were hungry, and she decided today we would have McDonalds as a treat. Which did distract us from the fridge that was painfully empty as always. I remember the hunt for change, throughout the house and into the seats of the car and before I knew it we were on our way to McD’s where we had enough for two small cheeseburgers and an order of fries. It couldnt have cost more than $2.00 as this was somewhere in the late 1980′s. Half way done with my cheeseburger I looked up and it suddenly hit me, she wasnt eating. As I type this it still brings a tear to my eye with all honesty and it was like in that very moment it hit me and my brother. How many times had my mom starved herself?
We cant change the past and if I could this is one part I would simply leave it be. I want to know the things I know, and I want to of seen the things I have seen. However painful they may be they shaped the man who sits here today before you typing this. What we can change is the future… The media would allow you believe that we dont have the same problems as a thrid world country, that america is perfect and its only thousands of miles away that children suffer and not here in the very same place where YOU live. The next time your in the grocery story and you see that lady with two kids throwing things out of her basket right before she gets to the checkout line, and you think to yourself “I guess she doesnt need milk after all”, know that you are wrong.
That being said, some of you are going to say… “Thats why america has food stamp programs”. I would say you are right, america does have those. Another memory I have as a child is my mother getting denied for them.” Well, why if you were truly in need?” is your response. Mine is “Good fawkin question?”. The only thing I could boil it down to is my mom actually had two jobs, and worked 16 hours a day where as other mothers who have no job or desire for one get upwards of $500 a month. A practice that still goes on today.
If I had a million dollars I would buy a stack of grocery story gift cards and hand them out daily to those single ladies ditching half their carts 36 seconds before checking out, or standing there putting things back when the register rings up too high. Hell I dont have a million dollars and I do that now. If we would take all the money we spend on these politicians, or take all this money we give to churches and give it to where it is needed this would be a better country for it, we would be better people for it. You can change the life of a person right here probably two blocks away from where you live now if you so decide to do it.
Here is the clip from sesame street… I’m going to stop writing now because If I keep going I’m just going to get more pissed off.