..Jon Simonds..

Happiness Not Hunger
The Basically Brooklyn Series

We take too many things for granted. We work hard and enjoy the rewards of our efforts, with shiny cars and multiple computers. How many pair of shoes sit on the floor of your closet, unscuffed, never worn, but obviously heard, as they spoke to you from some display rack? House phones, cell phones, mp3 players that were never phones, but could be phones, if we upgrade to the latest, greatest technology.

How many of those nine thousand channels do you watch, anyway? And do you really believe someone can access your computer if your router is not password protected? We're creative, independent and so full of things to do, we never really find the time to finish most of those things. at all. Does anything we really do matter? When you turn off the light, lay down at night is sleep elusive? What do you make? What do you owe? Why is everyone dreaming up all these different ways to snatch our dough?

Work is good and times are tough, but as the unemployment figures show, there really isn't enough, but you have a good job and you're working hard, so, you're trying not to sweat the small stuff. Everyone feels the pinch, from the well to do CEOs to the doing well maintenance dude, you like to think you know. Cities and counties are struggling as well, as they juggle goods and services and add to our hell.

More money for less buses, trains and schools. Cutting mail delivery and civil service workers, seems the thing to do. Crime goes up, but police officers disappear and those who can afford health insurance, shrink every year. Our problems are monumental. What are we to do? You certainly can't solve everything, but there is something I want to share with you.

Approximately 12 million Americans have lost their jobs in this, the Great Recession and many of them are faced with a new and unfamiliar foe. Hunger. This economic downturn has not only produced the greatest amount of home foreclosures in the briefest amount of time, but the greatest strain area food banks have ever experienced. In some cases, pantries are bare and while we can't really do anything, as individuals, to turn the economy around, we can step up for the food banks in their struggle to turn back hunger. Hey! What do you say? Want to forego Wednesdays Latte?

Put half of what you save away for a rainy day. The other half? Give it to a local area food bank. If you and a couple of coworkers were to do this, a box of Cheerios would find its way to a food bank shelf. From there it would journey to the home of a hungry child, or a struggling senior could at least get a bowl of nourishment in the morning.

Food banks aren't the kind of banks you really want to see. For many working Americans, suddenly finding themselves spending hours on job boards, filling out applications and lining up for interviews, food banks are a horrendous step for a man or woman to take. Food banks are not the American dream, they clobber one's self esteem bringing with them a sense of shame for an economic downturn in which we all share the blame. We think our jobs will always be there, so we tend to spend without a care and then one day the pink slip arrives and we find ourselves struggling to survive. A tiny bit of help goes a long way. Do something good today. in-between the Facebook journey and the e-mail check, visit feedingamerica.org. They have a wonderful web site. It will enable you to find your local area food bank and they offer a means by which you can help in the least amount of time.

After all, time is money in this nation of ours and with forty hours a week dedidcated to work (never mind the travel time), time is something we have very little of. Hunger pays no heed to time. It's just something that happens. The economy will improve. The food banks will see a drop in people desperate for help. It is a difficult step to take, going to a local food bank. I know. I've been there. It's even worse when there is no food left to give and hungry people are turned away. So, could you give something up? Just once a week, could you leave something behind? Make happiness. Not hunger. It's just something I had to get off my mind.

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