by Stacy Putnam
"Honey, how do you feel about pizza tonight?"
"No, I don't think so. We just had that. How about Chinese?"
For most of us, the preceding exchange is commonplace when dinner time draws near. But for many of our fellow Americans, the decision of what to have for their next meal or where to obtain it is far from trivial. While several programs exist which are designed to alleviate this problem, it will take a concerted effort by all to eradicate this situation.
"But can I help?," one may ask. There are many ways to pitch in and help your fellow human beings. The obvious choice is to donate money, but in these tight times, this is not always possible. Do not lose heart though, there are other ways to lend aid to those who are in need. Donating a small portion of your spare time to help with organization, coordination, or transportation of food and other needful commodities can make a significant difference in someone's life.
Yes, it's true that everyone needs food to live, but humans require much more than food to exist. Many of us walk the busy streets of downtown Cleveland on our lunch hour and witness the many faces of the needy. These people hunger not only for food, but also acceptance, a smile, or just a friendly hello. They are not so different from you or me. Some are happy, some sad, some friendly, some not so friendly, however, one thing remains constant, they all have feelings.
By now some of you may believe this article is the standard plea for both money and volunteers. This is not the point. America needs a wake up call - one which is long overdue. The time for useless rhetoric is past; the need for action is present. We, the people of this nation all have one thing in common; we are Americans. We share the same soil, the same air, and the same flag. Throughout our history, if there is only one lesson to be learned, it is this: united we stand, divided we fall.
Copyright Homeless Grapevine and Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless Issue 4 December-January 1993