190. Thoughts on Hunger & The Homeless


2009 brings with it many of the same unresolved issues for our country as were present in 2008. Our economy is in a recession, the unemployment rate is rising, and we have been promised that President Elect Obama has changes ahead to lead this nation to better days. Change can be a good thing. We certainly could benefit from closer attention and accountability on many of our economic issues that have recently gained so much attention. We also need change on how we handle so many of our social programs in this country. Homelessness in the US is one area that is in dire needs of change in 2009.

Over the past year we have had unprecedented numbers of Americans who find themselves homeless. The stereotypes of homeless citizens no longer ring true as there are no “typical” homeless people in this country. The diversity of our homeless citizens includes so many subgroups who just haven’t been able to weather the storm of our current economic challenges. ALL communities throughout the country report a sharp rise in local homeless populations. The demographics of our nations’ homeless includes Veterans, families, children, single mothers, middle class families, the elderly, those with both mental and physical illnesses, students and those who never, ever thought that they would find themselves without a home. My point here is the faces of our homeless spans across all demographics and continues to expand….and it isn’t going away without some serious changes.

There is little mention of changes ahead for our homeless Americans. Certainly, homelessness isn’t an issue of needed change that most Americans read about. I wonder if people really, truly think about what being homeless involves? If we did we might be more proactive in helping those who are homeless in our communities. For example, do we realize that many of our homeless citizens are hungry right in the midst of a society that thinks hunger only happens in other places beyond our borders?

In November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 11.1 percent of U.S. households were “food insecure” during 2007. A startling one out of every eight of us struggles with hunger because of a lack of money to buy an adequate amount of food or no access to federal- or state-funded food assistance programs. That’s 28.3 million adults and 12.4 million kids. The statistics for 2008 will be even higher due to the worsening economy. Our homeless citizens often have no way to get a good meal due to the lack of funding to supply basic shelter services of a bed and meal for the sharp rise in homelessness. I find this fact incredible as I contemplate how we support other countries in ways to feed the hungry ,yet ,forget about those in our own backyards who face daily life with hunger.

Yes, change  can be a good thing IF the changes ahead are those that promote the welfare of Americans. I hope homelessness  is on the top of the list for needed social change in the US . In the meantime,  it is the obligation of each of us to promote change within our communities. If you do nothing else in terms of charitable giving in 2009, don’t let other Americans go hungry. Buy a homeless person a meal “just because”, donate to your local food banks that feed the hungry, make a care pack of nonperishable food items to give away…be part of the change that our homeless citizens so desperately deserve.


2 Responses to “190. Thoughts on Hunger & The Homeless”

  1. January 12, 2009 at 7:40 am

    You have a great point here – not all homeless people are stereotypical. True, some are addicted to alcohol or drugs, but not all are. Not all have mental illness. Not nearly as many are lazy as we as a society seem to think! There’s also a big difference between those who are chronically homeless and those who are homeless for the first time. To lump them all together seems unfair – even within these subgroups, I don’t think the homeless can be fairly categorized.

    You make a very valid point about our homeless citizens. Just like Americans who have a home, the homeless are a diverse cross section of citizens just as any other group in this country.
    The one thing that all homeless share regardless of individual circumstances is the need for programs that effectively provides the most basic of human right in food and shelter. To make a real dent in homelessness there must be innovative new programs that offer supportive services that include employment opportunities and affordable housing for those who choose to participate.

  2. October 8, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    I live in PA. everyday someone comes in my store and states they just got laid off. Sawmill jobs, timber cutters laid off, GE in Erie big layoffs, Walmart laid off and cut hours, the old Homerwood laid off and cut hours, Weyhauser laid off, Matrix, Joy Manufacture laid off and more to come, Conair, a few nursing homes closed down, Catholic schools closed and the list goes on. Everyday I hear of Obama pushing this health reform (should be the legal field reform instead) and focusing on job creations. Obama hires Hilary Clinton whose husband and her were all for the NAFTA plan. This so called health reform is distracting the real problems. AMERICANS NEED WORK, NEED JOBS, DESPERATE NEED OF A DECENT PAYCHECK. I’m sipping on my cup off coffee, a cup that has a imprint of “made in China”, glancing out my window I can see my neighors Nissian, Toyota’s and Honda’s gee golly whiz can’t wait until Christmas and see all the non-smiling faces. Unemployment and the extensions are just a prolong agony to a end of no money, no job at all. Perhaps the repo jobs will be booming? Clunkers for a new vehicle only showed the consumer how you can get $4000 in trade for going in debt for 24,000 with a $500/month payment, then if you lose your job, guess what? REPO MAN WILL FIND YOU! Our government is nuts! Spend, spend, spend and go in debt up to your eyeballs, hard times fall upon you there is always a card board box and a layer of newspapers to keep you warm and a few back alley dumpsters to root around in to fill the belly. Don’t be too greedy and leave the road kill for the next poor sucker who comes along!

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