Food Stamp Challenge Week 4 – Late Night Challenge
July 17, 2008 § 3 Comments
David Davenport, President & CEO – The digital clock flashed from 2:05 a.m. to 2:06 a.m. – well past this blogger’s bed time. Since the little hamster won’t stop turning the wheels in my head, I’ll recap my day and share some thoughts I’ve finally been able to express.
Earlier Wednesday evening, I drove up to Dallas with two missions in mind. First, a scheduled doctor’s visit, and second, to meet with the Texas Food Bank Network. As the TFBN Finance Committee Chair, I lead the regular summer meetings on Friday mornings. Ok, not quite as exciting as a trip to Six Flags, but my doctors are good people, and it’s always good to see my TFBN friends.
I enjoy picking new spots to take a short break each time I go to Dallas. At this particular rest stop, there were no strange or interesting characters to chat with, so I entertained myself with a sun-weathered Houston Chronicle I found in my back seat.
The Houston Chronicle, has a special interview section called “Sunday Conversation”. The featured guest was Norman Borlaug, one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met.
Norman Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work in developing more productive strains of wheat and working to ensure their adoption around the world. During a recent phone interview with science writer Eric Berger, the 94-year-old distinguished professor at Texas A&M University said there are no simple solutions to the current crunch in food prices.
What the author failed to mention is that, in addition to winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Borlaug was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. He’s known as the “Father of the Green Revolution” and, back in 1970, his work was credited with saving a billion lives from starvation.
Yes, that’s billion with a “b” – It is not a typo.
While I encourage you to read through the interview with Dr. Borlaug, I wanted to make sure you saw this important exchange:
Q: Are you surprised at the price increases in wheat, corn, rice and other basic foodstuffs, some of which have tripled in just a few years?
A: I’m not surprised. The energy problem and the food problem are tangled up together. Many of the things that go into our food production system, like fuel for tractors and machines, and for fertilizer, have energy costs. Then there’s the transport system for delivering goods. In addition, there may be speculation also. It’s hard to isolate all of these factors. One change in government policy won’t rectify all of these interacting complications.
In a recent interview with FOX 7, I highlighted the challenges Central Texans face, and how it affects our organization. It’s what I call the “New Normal.” – no more $1.50 a gallon for fuel, and the inevitability of increasing food prices.
Although many of us are hurting financially, we can not forget what these challenges are doing to the soul and foundation of Texas – the working poor. While as Texans, we enjoy boasting about our grandness, and unique way of life; often, it’s the working poor that quietly, and unseen, supports that possibility.
We are all in this together.
But what does that really mean in practice? Some of our Partner Agencies are struggling with 20-30% increases in people served each month. To support these agencies, CAFB is reorganizing and reprioritizing business practices to ensure the flow of food isn’t interrupted or slowed. We’re also impressing upon the community that in good times and bad, hunger is simply unacceptable.
Let me say it again. Hunger is unacceptable.
Why such a bold statement? Because this problem requires urgent action. Take a moment to think about societal norms that we deem as unacceptable – slavery, drunk driving, child abuse, to name a few. Hunger, the inability to access food in socially acceptable ways to survive and thrive, should absolutely be in that category.
My Food Stamp Challenge this past month taught me a great deal about hunger. I now challenge you to say out loud “Hunger is unacceptable” and act on it. For some ideas on what you can do, just give us a call, or visit the “how to help” section on our website.