With the world focused on Haiti and its survival, an article appeared in Tuesday's Philadelphia newspaper that may shock us philanthropists. Phila.-area district 2d-hungriest in U.S., study says By Alfred Lubrano is a candid look at hunger and its pivotal role in the Philadelphia region. Food shortage is not something we associate with the Philadelphia region or America in general, but it is real and living next to us. There is a sense that we can do nothing about it. But as the world mobilizes in Haiti to save lives and rebuild a society, Lubrano's piece might just be the catalyst needed to motivate our charity to perform a more civic and local duty.
Why is the far away tragedy so much easier to deal with? Corporations and individuals share thousands of dollars to insure food, water and housing when disasters happen. But a closer look at this article or maybe just by watching the news, or even maybe by being cognizant of the things that pass your window on your drive to work, will wake us up to the stark reality of poverty and hunger existing right here. The question must hit home: How can the second largest population of people who are hungry exists within miles of our houses? The numbers are mind blowing. 36% of the households in Bob Brady's district have a shortage of food to feed their families. Even if we just let this go for a minute. 18% of America experienced this shortage of food for their families each day in 2008. That is 1 in 5 families suffering from hunger. Bob Brady should lose his position as a Congressman because of the amount of hungry people he is failing each day. It is the responsibility of our representatives to insure our voice in government. As the article states, "After studying the FRAC report, Carey Morgan, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, said she was not surprised to see the numbers...she said government officials should be made accountable to "enact responsible policy" to aid the poor - such as helping women on welfare receive more support for child care so they can go to work." This accountability should be not based on loyalty to a political party but on results that each representative is bringing to his area.
What is Brady doing today to relieve the pain his constituents are experiencing? What job is he insuring or creating? Maybe you feel that it is not the job of government to create jobs or feed people, but then why do we have a government at all? Government is meant to insure a voice, especially those dejected by social or economic policies, and our officials should be working for their local. In a republic like America, we need to know that our representatives are striving for our best interests. Brady is failing and he is failing in the worst way. The article will not go as far as to insult or attack Brady, a powerful local democrat, but the lunch break will. A paper can not make claims, shove them in a Tuesday paper, report a large section of Philadelphia residents in a hunger crisis, then refuse to make a call to action or provide any conclusions. We should all shoulder the blame for having the 2nd largest hunger district in America, but Brady should lose his job and the "people's voice" newspaper should play a larger role in making the public aware but also enacting change.
We can do more. The article does explain why more and more Americans are experiencing what must be the worst human experience: not being able to feed your family. If we can provide the assistance in Haiti, then surely we can help our neighbors. First, we need to hold our politicians accountable. Second, we need to actively seek a charitable organization in Bob Brady's area that is focusing on food. Third, we need to provide financial help or food for these families.
It seems we remember the homeless when it gets cold. We remember the pain of loss and death when we are confronted with it on television. But for most of us, we have never felt hunger or the despair of not having enough to eat. We need to fix these numbers. We need to eradicate hunger, not only in the world, but right here at home. We are all to blame, but as Haiti is proving, our altruism and hope is not bounded by race, nationality, or politics. That same spirit that is lifting Haiti can help South Philadelphia, Chester and all those who are suffering right here at home.