During this challenge, I was not hungry. I actually ate very well. I had to make some challenging choices, and I did have to do a little bit of work. I didn’t have a lot of money to work with, but I managed. Therefore, it would be easy for me to proclaim that I was able to do it, therefore anyone should be able to do it. And indeed, millions of Americans, whether or not they receive government assistance, prove every day that they are able to do it.
I did, indeed, eat cake last night. But I don’t think I should simply say “let them eat cake.” Not everyone is able to do what I did. Not everyone is able to make the decisions that I was able to make, and not everyone has even the rudimentary kitchen skills that I have. As the SNAP Challenge has shown, even seemingly educated people make stupid choices, such as buying $1.08 hard boiled eggs, or wasting their money on Honeycomb cereal, popsicles, and root beer. Other people make unwise decisions, either because they are forced to, or because they don’t know any better. There are, indeed, people who need help, and there are ways that we can help them.
Jesus tells us that he was hungry and you gave him something to eat, that he was thirsty and you gave him something to drink, that he was a stranger and you invited him in, that he needed clothes and you clothed him, that he was sick and you looked after him, and that he was in prison and you came to visit him.
We can do all of these things on our own. We don’t need anyone’s permission to do any of them. We don’t need organizations to do them for us, and we don’t even need our government to do them for us. (Notably, Jesus never said that he was hungry, and you convinced Cesar to take someone else’s money and use the money to feed him.) But in many cases, we can do these things more efficiently if we work together with others. The following is a list of some of the many organizations set up to do exactly those things. This is certainly not an exhaustive list. It’s simply a list of organizations with which I am familiar. They all do their job well, and are worthy of your support. Some are faith based, but all are willing to help anyone, regardless of faith.
- Union Gospel Mission
- Sharing Korner Food Shelf
- Second Harvest Heartland
- Catholic Charities, Dorothy Day Center
- Loaves and Fishes Minnesota
- Listening House of St. Paul
- Salvation Army
And we should also remember that hunger is not a phenomenon that affects only the United States. Indeed, most of America’s poor are wealthy beyond the wildest dreams of most of the world’s population. During my challenge, I made use of luxury items such as an oven, a microwave oven, a freezer, and even an electric coffee maker. It’s humbling that I can use all of these things without giving it a second thought. And for most of the world’s population, these are unimaginable luxuries. But in America, most of even the very poor have these luxury items available. Billions of people around the world need to feed themselves with far less than $26.01 per week. Here are some organizations that help them: