FSHN 110 Nickel and Dimed paper
Every Thanksgiving Eve Dad would take my little brother and me to Project Hope to fill pantries and assist in satisfying the bank on its busiest day of the year. Project Hope is a food pantry that accepts donations of nonperishable foods from the community as well as from the National Food Bank. It then sorts these products into individual pantries and distributes them to the public in need. Canned food drives and various errands to Project Hope were common events of my childhood. My senior year, Dad discovered a task that he was sure I’d love and be passionate toward. Often, Project Hope pantries include a package of beans, pasta, and a can of tuna. Upsettingly, these components will be prepared individually and consumed as individual meals. Rather, those components can combine to make a more nutritious, more efficient tuna salad. Without ideas and initiative, recipients of pantries usually miss this opportunity and don’t attain the most out of their pantry. Dad’s proposal was that I create a cooking class directed toward pantry ingredients.
My entire summer was consumed by the project. The whole of my energy went toward researching recipes, better preservation habits, cost comparison sheets, and various facts to include in my curriculum. When the meeting finally arrived for me to present the future class, the Project Hope Board seemed very enthusiastic. Quickly, goals were established and set into motion. But when I left Omaha for my education at Iowa State University, a new perspective was thrown into my previous outlook.
Barbara Ehrenreich committed herself to an unimaginable task. The task was to merely survive on conditions provided by a lack of education and a minimum wage occupation. To begin she was very optimistic. But a second job became vital causing physical ailments to accumulate, and ominous payments soon became overwhelming, Ehrenreich deemed the situation unmanageable.
A piece of criticism was directed toward food banks and their emphasis on cooking classes. She reviled their purpose of reaching out to the lower class by juxtaposing the common situation of the lower class. Working multiple jobs inflicts incredible stress on joints and proves exhausting. Ehrenreich questions who would have the time or the energy to attend a help class let alone drive across town for an hour long session; “What is this assumption that the hungry are free all day to drive around visiting ‘community action centers’ and charitable agencies?”(102). Not only that, but help sessions can often come across as demeaning. Because of this passage, I called my father to discuss a new approach toward teaching recipients about pantry efficiency. Pantry inserts serve as the new approach. Applicable recipes and important facts will be included in the pantries to reach more people and hopefully be much more influential.
Throughout the non-fiction analysis, Ehrenreich discretely describes her grocery list. Often, this budget allowed for milk, cereal, meat and beans. When she contacted a food bank, they offered hamburger helper and various canned goods. Rarely were recommended amounts of nutrients met. What must be considered is that Ehrenreich needed to supply food for only herself for survival; compared to a single mother working multiple jobs to provide for children along with herself. The only nutritional consideration, in this situation, is what can supply the most calories for the least amount of money. Fast food and Easy Mac are the familiar conclusions. This lifestyle is more likely to be forced rather than a matter of choice or preference.
Today, the National Food Bank and local food pantries are making the most with what they have. But seeing the current economic predicament, quality has been sacrificed for the quantity of pantries distributed. The most influential work that can be done by an undergraduate student would be to support local food banks with nonperishable goods. After donating supplies, they are more than welcome to join my father and me in filling those pantries and reaching out.