Friday, April 15, 2016

Thoughts about Food Waste and Assistance programs

I recently got a job busing tables at a local Sports bar and Grill for about five hours a day. I wanted to bring in a few bucks while still being home to make breakfast and dinner.

They serve breakfast all day and end up with bags upon bags of bread ends. Usually they turn these into croutons, But this week they had an overabundance. So I got to bring home 4 bags of them [or else forfeit them to the trash]. 

I started by sorting them, White, Wheat and small irregular pieces went in the bag to feed the local ducks and geese. Sourdough and Rye went in the bag to become croutons/Bread crumbs for meatloaf etc.

I found 4 lovely slices of honey wheat bread in the mix that I made into PeanutButter and Jam sandwiches to leave for the man who lives in the woods behind our apartments.

1.] I believe that feeding your family [and whoever else you deem fit] is each and every one of our own responsibility. I honestly think that if we were in smaller groups, actual communities without government assistance, there wouldn't be as much of a need. In smaller groups [of people who are willing to work] you could see the need and target it.

If people aren't willing to work [in whatever the capacity, medic, child care, farmer etc.] Then those people become ostracized from their community, and it would be nobodies fault but their own. 

Many in the community would be more likely willing to take care of those who are actually incapable of caring for themselves. Many common disabilities don't render the individual unable to perform tasks that are useful. 

2.] I've seen many use their EBT to buy energy drinks and chips... Am I really alone in thinking that if EBT is to exist it should have limitations to what you can spend it on? Two people can survive on $150 a month for food.

3.] I have known people who genuinely seemed like they needed the help to keep their family fed, I just don't see why we need it when 1,249 calories per American is going uneaten every day. 14.6% of Americans are using the Food Stamps program in the US, so that means the 387 billion calories being thrown away [daily] could in theory be divided among them [with enough excess to allow for the food that isn't savable].

It's in the Trash, The cure to the need for public assistance programs is In the bins of our homes restaurants and grocery stores.  I am sure you guys have seen videos of dumpster divers and other content that has brought you some awareness on the subject. There are some programs such as "Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste" That are taking great strides to aid in combating this exact problem and they are responsible for keeping 30 million pounds out of the garbage each year. 

4.] I understand there are people who don't think they could make ends meet in our current society without using a social program to get by. But I personally know plenty of people on assistance that still get their nails and hair done. If you are on assistance and you can afford makeup and scratch offs...

I personally love helping other people, I love being able to benefit my friends, family and strangers. But forcing everyone to help, makes the people who would gladly help out of their own volition, lose the desire. People are bitter because in the crowd of system abuse they can no longer see the genuine need.

5.] My family had four kids, My older sister, me and two younger brothers. Like many families money wasn't always bountiful, my Dad always worked long hours to keep the bills paid and my Mom took care of the kids. 

Although at this point My parents were well below the poverty line, and could have drawn on assistance their pride wouldn't allow it. On walks my mom would tell me that I could pick up the apples that had fallen out of the tree and onto the ground because they would only attract bees to the owner's yard. This is only one of many ways they supplemented their means without needing formal assistance.

6.] Education about foraging for domestic and wild edibles, safe preparation and proper propagation is another vital way we can help to encourage self sustainability. 

On my way to work I see Horsetail, Blackberry, Shepherd's purse, field cress, yarrow, goosefoot, and dandelion. All of which are edible, some with more preparation and caution than others. However, because humans drive smog machines alongside these plentiful harvesting points, they are rendered absolutely unusable. [Wow that is a whole new post]

I Don't think people on assistance are bad people. I think that many of us have given up on caring, because it seems like there is no solution. I hope that big changes come out of this new generation, that beyond all the mindless texting and selfies, are kids who are becoming conscious of real problems and solutions. 

How have you kept calories out of the trash?  Foraged for food to make ends meet? OR Fed your family in hard times without the use of a social program? I would love to feature your ideas or personal experiences on this subject.