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    September 3, 2003    PAGE FOUR      
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      Hunger In America by Jo Cordi Sica

                                             "A person who has food has many problems.
                                   A person who has no food has only one problem."
                                                                              Chinese saying

Iím taking a break. Not a break from the low carb way of life, but from writing about issues we face in this lifestyle. I had originally planned to write about how we have changed since beginning our low carb journey. That article will have to wait for another issue. I respectfully ask you to indulge me while I step on my soapbox for a few minutes. In a sense, this article is about change; about change that is desperately needed in America.

I spend a great deal of time thinking about and discussing food-related issues. Today, I ask you to consider food from another perspective Ė not having any. Last night I watched the television program 60 Minutes. What I saw moved me so profoundly that I knew I had to do something. I sat in tears watching nearly 1000 people in Ohio standing in a food line. Many of these individuals were interviewed and asked what brought them to a point where they were reduced to standing in a line for hours for food.

The bottom line was that a majority of these individuals are the working poor of our country. They have jobs and work hard, but donít make enough money to provide for their families the most basic of needs: food. Others were people who, due to company closures, death, divorce, or illness suddenly found themselves in a desperate situation.

Watching this program was like watching a bread line from the era of the Great Depression. One family that truly broke my heart shared that the three children only ate school lunch. There was just no money to buy food for before or after school. How did this happen? The father left and took his income with him. The mother is doing the best she can on $700 month. Another family stretches milk by diluting a gallon of milk with a gallon of water. They have a baby, and this is the only way they can make the milk last long enough to keep the bottles full from payday to payday.

These stories are not all that unusual. In fact, I have a friend here in town that was in exactly the same situation earlier this year. She often wondered where she would find food for the next meal. As I watched this program, I thought about how truly fortunate I am. I sit comfortably in my home enjoying my luxurious low carb meals while 13 million children live in homes that lack an adequate supply of food. I cannot in good conscience sit idly by and do nothing.

Many low carbers dream of the day when our style of eating becomes the norm. We are excited at the prospect of walking into a restaurant without having to interrogate the wait staff about the possibility of flour or sugar in every menu item. We look forward to seeing school lunches provide real nutrition for growing children, not carb-loaded fare that will ultimately lead to clogged arteries and diabetes. I admit that I seriously considered embracing that cause for a time. That cause will have to take a back seat for now. As much as I cringe at the thought of kids eating a meal consisting of pizza, rolls, and mashed potatoes, I find the thought of a child not eating at all far more disturbing. Honestly, if I had to make a choice between starvation and eating white bread, I would immediately lose my moral indignation about white stuff being poison.

In fact, some of our readers are likely facing food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined as lack of assured access at all times to enough food for healthy, active lives. Over 16% of Americans suffered from this plight in 2001. I know this is true because I have received letters from readers who have temporarily abandoned their low carb eating because their money stretches farther when buying rice and spaghetti.

     
I have always felt that someday I would do something that makes a positive difference. I never knew what that something would be, but I slept better at night feeling that at some point, I will do something meaningful. In the meantime, I convinced myself I am a good person because I help where I can by counseling people, giving blood, and doing some minor volunteer work.

Last night I realized that I am not spending nearly enough time doing things that are genuinely important. When I awoke this morning, I decided that today will begin a new chapter in my life. I have reassessed my priorities and will be making some significant changes. As a mother, I cannot bear the thought of so many children going to school on an empty stomach and going to bed hungry.

Starting today, I am going to devote time every week to changing that statistic. The first item on my agenda was to write this article. Creating awareness of the problem is the first step in solving it. The next change I am making is to devote a minimum of six hours a week to volunteer activities with the Second Harvest Food Bank. They assured me this morning that they can use my help with research and writing as well as floor sweeping and food sorting. Iím happy to report that they gave me a complete tour of the facility and my first two writing projects. I canít wait to get started!

I know this may not be a cause that everyone can embrace (although I can always hope!) My intent is not to preach, but to encourage each of you to find some meaningful way to contribute your time and talents. If everyone does a little, collectively we can accomplish great things. And then, maybe when everyone in this great country has something to eat, we can work on educating them on all the benefits of the low carb lifestyle. To anyone who is moved to help, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

                                              

For more information on how to help in your area, please visit: feedingchildrenbetter.org.


                  Jo Cordi Sica
                  SPHR Organizational Development and Training
                  jwcordi@aol.com

Copyright © September 2003  Jo Cordi Sica and Low Carb Luxury




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