Food for Thought

Food Pledge

Last Thursday, a day after the Academy's annual Thanksgiving meal, there was another, perhaps less well known but no less important campus gathering. Sponsored by the Student Government Association, Chartwell's Food Service, and MMA's Office of Intercultural Engagement, the Oxfam Hunger Awareness Banquet focused on food, yet from an entirely different perspective, one that sought to highlight the great disparities throughout the world where people simply do not have enough to eat on a daily basis.

The statistics are sobering. Worldwide more than 1.9 billion people live in poverty. 821 million people suffer from chronic hunger, with children under age 5 bearing the brunt of this problem. Here in the United States, one of the wealthiest countries on earth, 39.7 million Americans live in poverty and one out of every six children lives below the poverty line.

While many think hunger is about a lack of food, that is not the case. Our planet produces enough food for every person on earth. It is a myriad of contributing factors. Every day, resources like land and water are becoming harder to access. Global climate change is adding to the problem, making it difficult for people to grow and harvest crops. Food prices remain volatile, and for many, food that is within reach one day may not be the next. But hunger is also about power, its roots lie in the inequality of access to these resources. The results are illiteracy, poverty, war, and the inability of families to grow or buy food. 

The Oxfam Hunger Banquet can only touch upon the issues...it requires people to become actively involved. It's why a portion of the MMA community, cadets, faculty, and staff all came together to share a meal, one designed to promote thought, discussion, and a commitment to dealing with the problem. Moved by the realities of what life could be like, 2C Corryn Ulrich signed the pledge. "I was overwhelmed...not expecting to be looking at a bowl of rice and beans and realizing that could be my meal...for the day." So, as we give thanks this week for all that we have, know that there are many, even right here at home who don't have that much to be thankful for, but that we can help in whatever way we're able.

Happy Thanksgiving.