In the last week, the bi-state region has experienced significant snowfall and sub-zero temperatures.
Many roads were in bad shape, schools were cancelled and many businesses were forced to temporary close.
Hopefully your biggest frustration was kids with cabin fever that wanted to watch reruns of “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” on Disney Junior nonstop.
However, after working at the Foodbank for nearly five years, I know the reality for many area families is much more troubling.
According to the Hunger In America 2010, 58 percent of clients served by the St. Louis Area Foodbank reported having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel. Think about that for a second. Think about how much you hated the thought of going outside for anything. Now try to imagine if your home/apartment felt the same way. No one should have to choose between paying for food and paying to keep the heat on.
As my friend Meredith once said, hunger is like a giant onion with many layers. Two blogs that I read that I read this week really drove that point home.
One blog was on the No Kid Hungry site and talked about how for most kids snow days are something to get excited about. Snow days are perfect for sledding, building snowmen and as an added bonus, it means no homework. However, as the blog points out, snow days are dreaded for kids that count on school breakfasts and lunches. For some, that may be their only meal(s) for the day. Check out the full blog here – https://www.nokidhungry.org/blog/school-meals/2013/12/snow-days.
The other blog was on Feeding America’s website and brought up that snow days can be a bad thing for adults as well. What if your work is cancelled and you have a hourly wage? What if your car won’t start and there is no way to get to your job? You might be glad that you can finally binge watch Breaking Bad on Netflix instead of working on that report that your boss has been asking for since before Christmas, but if you actually need to be at your job to help feed your family, snow days can be your worst nightmare. Check out the full blog here – https://blog.feedingamerica.org/2014/01/the-bitter-cold.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t head to Art Hill with your kids or clear out some shows from your DVR. Just remember, the next time your boss says, “don’t bother trying to get out in this stuff” or your child’s school scrolls across the bottom of the local news, there are people in your own backyard that wish that they weren’t stuck inside.
By Ryan Farmer
Communications Manager of the St. Louis Area Foodbank