Taking Care of America

During a discussion about the situation in Syria, a comment was made that struck a chord with me. A student said, “Before we can take care of other countries, we have to take care of ourselves.” This got me thinking- what should we be taking care of in our own country? According to the United States Census Bureau, last year 46.5 million people living in the United States were living in poverty. These are people who do not have the monetary means to support themselves, and/or do not live a standard of life that is accepted by society. In 2011, 46.2 million people in our country were living in food insecure homes. A food insecure home is one in which there is no promise of a next meal.

After reading these statistics, I wanted to know what teenagers, like myself, could do to make a difference to reduce hunger in our nation. How can teens do things to bring attention back to the problems in our country? A very effective way to directly make an impact on hunger in our own communities is volunteering. Food banks need help repackaging food for distribution and shelters need people to help serve food. Donating money is another way to contribute to the cause by giving financial aid to the families and individuals in need or by giving to organizations like “Feeding America” and “No Kid Hungry”.

If volunteering or making a donation is not feasible, there are also ways to indirectly play a part in the fight against hunger. There are many profit and nonprofit organizations that take the initiative to develop laws to provide assistance to those who cannot afford to keep food on their tables. Joining their causes in your community and on a national level is an easy way to get involved. Every source that I used agreed on the importance of raising awareness. In high schools, the opportunities to raise awareness are endless. The more creative, the better. Host a benefit concert, have a can collecting contest between classes, or use existing organizations and clubs to attract attention. Raising awareness can be done in countless ways, some requiring as little effort as liking an organization like Feeding America’s page on Facebook.

Hunger is an issue that seems untouchable after looking at the numbers. How can one     person help 46.2 million people? One person can make a difference. By volunteering, donating, and spreading the word, one person can touch lives and influence others to join the movement to end hunger. One person becomes ten, which becomes one hundred with the right effort. Even if it’s just becoming educated about the situation in our country, it’s time to start taking care of America.









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