the (food) bank that’s too big to fail

cristina carlino

Unpublished Work © 2011 Cristina Carlino

i am not a political person,   i don’t favor one party over another.  and i don’t think i’m alone when i say wrapping my head around all that’s gone on in washington these past few years to save our biggest banks from failing has gone a bit over my head.  but i can get hunger.  i may not know it in my stomach today and like most of you i have been fortunate to not know where my next meal was coming from (as in hunger not as in “do we do mickey d’s or pizza hut for lunch?) only a very few days of my life.  but when i imagine a child in her bed at night going to sleep without enough food in her stomach, i can feel  it in my gut.  it feels sickening like panic and despair and abandonment and a great big question mark.  how can this even be?  put the most remarkable economic genius minds together in a room and i’m certain they can explain the complex academic reasons behind why hunger in america is at an all time high and likely will continue to be for a long time.  but my simple spirit can’t put together how my beloved country that starts every national baseball game  singing “…for the land of the free and the home of the brave” can be free if so many millions are begging for food?   how did hunger become as american as apple pie?

have you been around long to enough to remember when parents told their kids  to “eat everything on your plate because people  were starving in europe!”   do you recall when your local church or synagogue or school would collect cans of food in what was called a “food drive for the holidays?   that’s when our next evolution of help  came along called food banks.  they were born from the evidence you don’t have to be homeless to be hungry.  now there’s over 200 food banks sponsored by cities across america trying to stay open 365 days a year.  these banks are in an emergency state.  real crisis.  they didn’t do anything foolish.  nobody’s getting big bonuses. they’re worked by volunteers.   they just can’t keep up with the supply of food needed and the money it costs to buy nutritious meals.   they need a bail out.

but this blog isn’t about guilt.  it’s about generosity.  beginning with ourselves. you can’t give what you don’t have.   it’s the holidays and the most wonderful time of the year. and food is a big part of it.   a time to celebrate and indulge and freely enjoy what is given.  a house full of special comfort foods.  the comfort foods i’ve usually gone for the rest of the year are filled with sugar and goo and are less expensive than real nutritious foods.  it helps me to remember that 44 million americans may be calling “comfort foods” their daily dinner.   it’s all they can afford.    so i’m asking that this season as you try to wrap your head around counting your calories,  that you enjoy every bite and count your blessings along with them.   if you can, please make a donation to your local food bank.  to help feed one person.  we are not saviors.  mother teresa herself said, “if you can’t feed 100 people feed one.”   together the numbers will add up.  to something we can wrap our heads around.  we cannot fail.

peace and blessings

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2 responses to “the (food) bank that’s too big to fail

  1. …i love your sentiments…AND your writing style…i stole mine years ago from the san francisco columnist herb caen…and tell my college roommate kenneth t. that i want to see HIM on QVC too…

  2. Meredith Fields

    you are amazing, Christina. this really inspires me. I think you have the best blogs I’ve read of anybody. Thank you.

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