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Remember the hungry; take action

Posted February 1st, 2012 by UHDS News

I started to notice my social class for the first time at the age of ten. This all happened after visiting my elementary school friend. Her house was twice, or maybe three times bigger than the little apartment I lived in. She had her own room, while I had to share rooms with my siblings. She had a yard, two dogs, and a cat. I longed to have a pet, but was not allowed to, due to the small space in our apartment.

That day when I went home, I started to notice how small our apartment was; for the very first time, I felt poor. I know I had everything I needed. I never went to sleep hungry like my parents did when they were little, but I knew that I was “different.” In my ten year-old way, I began learning about social class.

This experience brought to mind a time when my mother took my siblings and myself to Guatemala.

Some children there had no shoes and were begging for food. I remember there were children that worked cleaning car windows. According to the World Food Programme website, “There are more hungry people in the world than the combined population of U.S., Canada and the European Union.”

Visiting Guatemala opened my eyes. It was shocking to me to know there are so many people living in poverty and it made me more aware of the plight of the hungry in the U.S. as well.

Even though poverty in the US is not as visible in most communities as in other countries, this doesn’t mean we don’t have people living in poverty. The poor live in all countries, but there is one thing they share in common: the feeling of hunger.
Growing up, I never faced hunger, like my parents did when they first arrived to California from Mexico.

At the time they had difficulty finding a job and struggled to survive by only eating inexpensive ramen noodles. Like my parents once did, there are a lot of people here in the United States that struggle to put food on their table.

Poverty can even be found close to home in Benton County. Benton County reports that 18 percent of people are living below the poverty level according to a census taken in 2009; that is almost 1 in 5 people. These numbers represent people living in our community and many students.

Did you know that in 2010, 17.2 million households(approximately 1 in 7), were food insecure; the highest number ever recorded in the United States according to the latest government report released by Hunger Notes in September 2010.

There are many things we can do to fight against hunger. Even small things such as can drives in schools, jobs, and communities can make a big difference.

If you are interested in helping out you can visit our local campus OSU Emergency Food Pantry located in the Snell Hall International Form on campus. To learn more please visit their website or follow them on Twitter @FoodPantryOSU and be sure to check out the OSU Food Drive events happening this month.

Angelica Perez, Community Relations Facilitator

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