Here’s what people facing food insecurity want you to know about solving the hunger problem in America
Even though America is the world’s wealthiest nation, about 1 in 6 of our neighbors turned to food banks and community programs in order to feed themselves and their families last year. Think about it: More than 9 million children faced hunger in 2021 (1 in 8 children).
In order to solve a problem, we must first understand it. Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, released its second annual Elevating Voices: Insights Report and turned to the experts—people experiencing hunger—to find out how this issue can be solved once and for all.
Here are the four most important things people facing hunger want you to know.
Hunger is still an urgent crisis despite signs of economic recovery. In the months following the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, headlines report that the nation’s economic health is bouncing back after years of hardship. However, a big chunk of our population is experiencing a different reality. Recovery has been uneven nationwide, and grocery prices are still higher than normal despite easing supply chain issues. With the end of the federal support offered throughout the pandemic, child poverty rates have shot up, and families like Donnette McManus’ are feeling the squeeze.
“Even though you have your list, you have your budget, things are changing so quickly. Your salary can’t keep up. So, you get to the store with the same exact list, the same 10 items can cost you 50% more,” said McManus, who lives in Massachusetts.
Feeding America Insights Report
People facing hunger say that ending food insecurity is about more than just food. Ending hunger may sound like a simple task: make sure everyone, regardless of who they are and where they live, has access to the food they need. However, as neighbor-advocate Jennifer Estrada of Wisconsin pointed out, the reality is a bit more complex, especially considering that hunger is only a symptom of bigger economic challenges.
“As much as you work, the system is set up for you to continue in a cycle of food insecurity,” said Estrada. “Your whole check goes to a rent payment if you’re not fortunate enough to own a house, with nothing leftover. But you get kicked off if you make $2 more. There needs to be some security, there needs to be a revamping of the whole system ... It seems like instead of creating less barriers to help the families in our community, it seems like policies and procedures continue to make more barriers.”
One of the biggest takeaways from the 2023Insights Report is that housing is unaffordable. Working 40+ hours a week still isn’t enough to get by for many folks. Stopping hunger in its tracks is as much about strengthening economic well-being as it is about providing equitable access to enough nourishing food.
Hunger is an issue that intersects with more than what we put on our plates. Hunger strikes without discrimination, affecting anyone, anywhere, at any time. Millions of people in the U.S. are just one job loss, missed paycheck, or medical emergency away from experiencing food insecurity. Due to a long history of racism, discrimination, and oppression in our country, hunger impacts some communities more than others, including communities of color and communities in rural areas.
While the impact of hunger is widespread, people facing it note that the stigma associated with it can strip people of their dignity or deter them from accessing the food assistance programs they’re eligible for and need. There are also inequitable systems in place that do not work for everyone.
“Your basic clerk at your local DHS [Department of Human Services] office is only employed to input information and output information back to you. A lot of times, you feel like you’re not even a human. You’re just a number to them. And if I’m just going to be a number to you, I have a mental meltdown,” said Kimberly Harris, a resident of Washington, D.C.
Feeding America Insights Report
Ending food insecurity requires a catalyzing movement. While hunger remains a widespread and persistent problem, our country already has the tools to eradicate it forever—they just need to be utilized. Most people facing hunger said that federal and local governments should treat hunger as an urgent crisis—signaling that it will take all of us to bring hunger to a halt.
So how can you take action right now? Do your part and visit FeedingAmerica.org/ElevatingVoices to read the 2023 Elevating Voices: Insights Report and sign a petition to encourage Congress to pass legislation that will help ensure no one in America goes hungry. Let’s all pitch in to make the wealthiest nation become the happiest and most prosperous—for all.
A quick trip to the vet confirmed the cats' and family's suspicions.
It's not a secret that nearly all golden retrievers are identical. Honestly, magic has to be involved for owners to know which one belongs to them when more than one golden retriever is around. Seriously, how do they all seem have the same face? It's like someone fell asleep on the copy machine when they were being created.
Outside of collars, harnesses and bandanas, immediately identifying the dog that belongs to you has to be a secret skill because at first glance, their personalities are also super similar. That's why it's not surprising when one family dropped off their sweet golden pooch at daycare and to be groomed, they didn't notice the daycare sent out the wrong dog.
See, not even their human parents can tell them apart because when the swapped dog got home, nothing seemed odd to the owners at first. She was freshly groomed so any small differences were quickly brushed off. But this accidental doppelgänger wasn't fooling her feline siblings.
Once the dog was in their house, they noticed that their cats started behaving strangely towards their canine sibling. The cats started attacking the dog, likely trying to get it to tell them what they did with their real dog sister. Cat slaps and a house full of strange people didn't dampen the imposter's spirit though, in fact, that's what helped reveal the switcharoo.
This dog kept handing out face kisses and had no interest in seeing her favorite neighbor. After putting all of those things together, the owners decided to hightail it to the vet's office to scan the dog's microchip. Alas, they indeed had the wrong dog.
"We just never even thought that that would happen, and of course we thought we would know right? Like we're her parents, we would know something was wrong, we would know right off the bat that it wasn't Emmy," Kebby Kelley told Fox 9 Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Seems both golden retrievers got to go on a really strange adventure that deserves a lifetime of delicious dog treats for the confusion.
See both sweet pups below:
Hearing impaired performers come together in perfect synchronization to share a beautiful message.
In a world full of jaw-dropping dance routines, the Thousand Hand Guan Yin manages to captivate like no other.
A large group of performers in identical golden costumes flow together in synchronized movement so seamlessly that it appears as though one entity with several arms is moving about space.
That entity is Guan Yin, a goddess of compassion who, according to Buddhist legend, will never rest in nirvana as long as any sentient being suffers on Earth.
Guan Yin is often depicted with a thousand arms, having an eye in the palm of each hand, to symbolize an omnipresent mother figure always witnessing the pain of humanity with endless amounts of mercy, extending out one of her many arms to lend a helping hand.
The performers emulate this with intricate, delicate hand gestures while standing very close to one another, resulting in a mesmerizing optical illusion.
But the dance in and of itself isn't the most remarkable thing about this piece—each of the performers are hearing impaired.
Renowned Chinese choreographer Zhang Jigang (also known for large scale numbers like 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics opening ceremony) created the piece with The China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe back in 1987 to further emphasize inclusivity and compassion.
The Thousand Hand Guan Yin is one of China's most famous dances
While the first iteration consisted of around 20 performers, that number has exponentially increased to between 60-80. Knowing that each of these dancers were able to sync up so flawlessly without relying on music really does make it all the more powerful.
Today, the Thousand Hand Guan Yin remains one of China’s most well known and most beloved dance routines. And thanks to the internet, we too can be inspired by its wondrous spectacle and important message.
Thousands of concertgoers in Poland randomly decided to sing 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and it was flawless
The music of Queen is a universal language.
The music of Queen has a profound visceral effect on everyone. Few pieces of art can cause complete strangers to put aside their differences and come together in song, but by golly, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of them. It would be cheesy if it weren’t so absolutely beautiful.This pertains even to non-English-speaking countries, it appears. Recently, thousands of Harry Styles concertgoers in Warsaw, Poland, began cheering as those iconic beginning piano notes penetrated the air.
It wasn’t long before the entire stadium was singing along to that beloved tune and acing every single lyric. As one person commented on YouTube, even though most people in Warsaw don’t speak English, “they sing Queen.”
The passionate impromptu performance serves as a reminder of how special both Queen and the late Freddie Mercury remain today.
“No other band will ever come close to Queen. They were lightning in a bottle and Freddie was a whale in a teardrop. Once people keep singing his words, FM will live on forever,” another YouTube viewer wrote.
Indeed, seeing an entire stadium come alive with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” you can’t help but feel Mercury’s soul return to the mortal plane, as if we’ve all been transported back to that historic Live Aid concert in 1985 when he had the entirety of Wembley Stadium wrapped around his finger for 21 glorious minutes.
Watch below, and try not to sing along. Scratch that—sing your heart out.
This article originally appeared on 7.14.23
"Validation is like a drug and intimacy is the ultimate validation."
Infidelity is devastating for relationships. When you find out a partner has been unfaithful it can feel like a bomb went off in the middle of your living room while you were just trying to drink your morning coffee. The carnage from an affair can be extensive, especially if there are children involved.
But no matter what circumstances the infidelity happened, the partner who was on the receiving end of the betrayal often wonders why? It can send some people in a spiral of shame and self blame for the actions of their partners which feel debilitating. Oftentimes, the betrayed partner never feels like they get a truthful answer from their partners but one Reddit user decided to invite partners that have strayed to explain why they cheated.
Surprisingly, many of the answers were extremely insightful seemingly showing extraordinary growth since that time in their lives. There was also a lot of remorse expressed for their previous harmful behaviors.
"When you grow up being in turn neglected and told you're not good enough, validation is like a drug, and intimacy is the ultimate validation. Sooooo much therapy to undo this," one person reveals.
"Insecurity. I was always on the look out for someone who would make me feel more desirable than the last. Once I grew up emotionally, I realised [sic] what a POS I was & the hurt it caused. Hard to live with tbh. Edit. Can I just make it clear I was not a serial adulterer… It was a youthful lack of judgement," another person writes.
"Unbridled ego, unsatisfying regular sex life, and a girl who threw herself at me. I was an idiot, I acted like an a*****e, and I will regret it the rest of my life," one commenter says before continuing. "It was a hard truth to face. It was a dark time in my life where my ego and my immaturity caused me to hurt several people I loved."
"Because I chose a cowardly and easy path. Instead of going to therapy and ending my toxic relationship, I cheated on them with someone who I had convinced myself I was in love with, and loved me. Turns out, breaking up with someone is a lot less harmful to everyone involved than cheating," someone else writes.
An interesting theme that someone who has experienced the pain of infidelity may notice is that there's no blame placed on the betrayed partner. The people that answered this prompt admit that the affair was completely within their control and most say they learned from it.
Dr. Kathy Nickerson is a licensed clinical psychologist that specializes in affair recovery, she's also the author of the book The Courage to Stay: How to Heal from an Affair and Save Your Marriage. Nickerson has teamed up with other mental health professionals to research why people have affairs and has been revealing the earliest results on her TikTok page.
One of the preliminary results falls in line with what many of the commenters were sharing on the Reddit post, a lot of people that cheat are in some sort of emotional pain.
"In our recent affairs survey, we asked over 1400 cheating partners, was an affair a painkiller," Nickerson says, revealing that 64.8% of women and 59.9% of men agreed or strongly agreed with the affair being a painkiller. When asking "did you choose the affair to cope with emotional pain," 68.2% of women and 70.2% of men answered in the affirmative.
In another video, Nickerson revealed that the saying, "once a cheater always a cheater" may actually be inaccurate based on the preliminary research results. According to the initial survey for cheating partners, 59.89% reported only having one affair.
If there's one take away from the eye opening responses in the Reddit post and the early research results from Nickerson, it's that cheating has very little to do with the person being cheated on and people don't always cheat again. You can follow along with Nickerson's research here, and if you're healing from infidelity while choosing to stay partnered, you can buy her book here.
What exactly are "girl" chores, anyway?
A 41-year-old mom with 3 boys, 12-year-old twins, and a 10-year-old, pays them $10 daily to do their chores. However, their pay is deducted $10 if they miss a day. The boys have to do their tasks 5 days a week, although it doesn’t matter which days they choose to work.
“This system has worked swimmingly for us since it started, the boys have always complied with completing their chores,” the mom wrote on Reddit.
Her 12-year-old son was getting ready to play Fortnite with a friend and told him he’d be ready in 15 minutes once he finished his chores. When the boys started playing the game, he told the friend he was in charge of dusting and sweeping the stairs, to which the friend responded, “It’s a good thing my parents don’t make me do girl chores.”
After learning what the friend said, the mom told her son that chores are genderless.
“I spoke with my son and explained to him that knowing how to clean was not specific to any gender, that it was a life skill everyone needed to know. I also told him that I understood that other families functioned differently; however, in our family, everyone did an equal share,” she wrote.
Over the next 3 days, the boy refused to do his “girl” chores. So, when allowance day came, the two brothers who did theirs received $50, but the 12-year-old who refused only got $20. The mom and the boy's father are divorced, so the 12-year-old called his dad to complain that he got $30 less, and the dad took his side.
“My ex-husband then proceeded to call me and tell me that I’m in the wrong for only giving him $20 and to imagine how it makes him feel that his brothers got more than he did. I explained to him that our other sons actually did their chores for all 5 days, so they were rewarded accordingly,” the mother wrote. “And assured him that if he had decided to start giving the boys an allowance, then he can run allowance however he wanted, but this was ultimately the system I had come up with.”
She added that her husband said she is being “insensitive” and “humiliating” their son.
The mom asked Reddit’s AITA subforum if she was in the wrong, and the commenters unanimously agreed that she was right. Other commenters noted that she made a smart decision leaving her ex-husband because he took the side of his child, who refused to do work for sexist reasons.
The only problem the commenters had was that the mom was being a little too generous by giving them $50 a week. That’s $600 a month for 3 kids.
"It’s the real world, you don’t do your job, you don’t get paid, and I actually think $10 a day is pretty generous for allowance," Longjumping-Gur-6581 wrote. "$10/day is insane for that age,” fIumpf added.
“You’re not taking money out of your son’s allowance, you’re not paying him for services not rendered,” Excitedorca wrote. “The sexist, misogynistic reasons behind not completing the chores need to be corrected and that won’t happen by rewarding it.”
Here are 17 rules that would make life better for everyone.
The world would be a much better place if humans weren’t so … human. We all fall short of perfection. Common sense is, sadly, not too common. And there’s one guy out there who always manages to screw things up when things start getting good.
Call it Murphy’s law. Call it the great “reason we can’t have nice things.” Call it entropy. It feels like a whole lot of pain could be avoided if we all had just a little bit more sense.
But what if there was one rule that we all agreed to follow to make everyone’s life better? What would this magical rule be?
A Reddit user who goes by the name P4insplatter came to this realization and asked the AskReddit subforum, “What simple rule would fix the world if everyone actually followed it?” They received dozens of simple rules that if everyone got behind would make the world drastically better.
It’s no shock that most of them felt like a variation of the Golden Rule. It’s funny that a lot of folks believe the world would seriously improve if we could just abide by a simple saying that we all learned in kindergarten.
Also known as the “ethics of reciprocity,” the Golden Rule is so innate to humans that versions of it have been found in religions and cultures throughout the world.
Here are 17 of the best responses to P4insplatter’s simple, but world-altering question.
1. Let go
“Let go or be dragged” an old zen proverb I heard at a meditation class. Really changed the way I let myself worry about things." — civagigi
2. Simple, but true
"Don't be a dick." — WuTangLAN93
3. The Golden Rule
"Treat others how you want to be treated." — AlbanyGuy1973
4. It starts with you
"I read somewhere that if you want to change the world, you have to change the community, to change the community change your relationships, and to change your relationships change yourself." — cagibaxii
5. Simple Earth math
"Don't use more resources than what the Earth is capable of renewing." — DaethSpiral321
6. Bill and Ted's rule
"Be excellent to each other." — pnotar
7. The law of Lebowski
“Fuck it, Dude. Let's go bowling." — Bonhomme7h
"Use your turn signal(s) properly." — futilelord
9. The principle of non-agression
"Simple, the non-aggression principle. You don't do, initiate or threat any harm unto others, unless acting in true self defense." — ufrag
10. It works for everything
"Leave it better than you found it." — Narcoid
11. Generosity and humility
"Be generous and humble. Being generous and kind encourages us to perceive others in a more positive light and fosters a sense of community. Humility teaches you to improve and make a positive impact on the world." — SuvenPan
"If you are not educated on the subject, sit down and stfu. Let the experts with years of education and experience talk." — Ch3m1cal420
13. Fairness first
"Everyone gets a chance at one [thing] before anyone gets seconds." — ehsteve23
14. Permanent daylight
"Obviously making daylight savings permanent." — ObviousINstruction18
15. Two ears, one mouth
"Listen more, talk less." — TryToHelpPeople
16. Turn off the lights
"All empty buildings should not have any lights/ac/heating on at night or after business hours depending on the nature of the work. their ac/heating and lights if necessary should only be turned on before the start of the day. This will not only help with energy costs but also with light pollution." — hadrainsgate
17. Don't tread on anyone
"You cannot do ANYTHING without consent." — DeepCompote
This article originally appeared on 03.17.22