What should we – individually and collectively – be doing differently about hunger issues in our community?
What better time than a Presidential election to remind ourselves of the challenge of balancing individual initiative and interest with the common good? If we see those forces as opposing each other, we will waste our energy in grandstanding and one-upmanship. But we can do much better than that, and we must.
Combating hunger is a mandate for us all. But, as with every need we face, we address it from where we are, with the complexities and concerns of each individual group. Yes, there are failures in personal responsibility, public policy, our adversarial system, all of the above and more. But, yes, there are successes and potential successes in all of these as well.
We must address massive problems in multitudes of ways and there is power in all the avenues and modes of help. The challenge is to keep our focus on the goals more than on our self-interest as we work. Just as none of us can be entirely altruistic, none of us can have the whole picture, or control the whole outcome. But we are much more likely to succeed in this if, each time we are tempted to act as the universal hero, we step back, take a moment, and allow room for, and honor to, all the others who are trying to solve the same problem.
A Taste of Hunger, the community-wide grassroots initiative to combat hunger in Memphis which was launched on November 4th, is based on these principles:
•Hunger is everyone’s problem, and no one is exempt from its effects;
•We all can help in some way, at some level;
•The help is most effective when it is energized by a common purpose, coordinated for maximum efficiency, and implemented to maximize what each participant does best;
•Each of us can, and should, take pride in what we can accomplish; and
•Each of us can, and should, take pride in what others can accomplish.
Please join MIFA, the Mid-South Food Bank, and others in the community in this carefully coordinated, high-impact effort to fight hunger through broad-based education, empowerment, and support.