Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty

Bloggers around the world will be discussing poverty today in the second annual Blog Action Day. Once a year bloggers are invited to think and write about a single issue on one day.

I deleted my first post about poverty because what I ended up writing first was about my own anxiety. And sadly, anger even.

I will spare you the details, but I wonder how many of you might feel the same. How many of you out there feel put upon? After the $700 billion bailout that is now going to cost in the trillions? After a year of intense political mud-slinging and partisanship? After the lingering memory of our attrocious mishandling of Hurricane Katrina survivors? After being involved in two wars simulataneously (Iraq since March 21, 2003 and Afganistan since October 7, 2001)? And more. And now Poverty, too?

It seems like solutions to huge problems, like Poverty or Peace or Security, seem very very few and very very far between.

Still, I believe.

I believe ordinary people can make a difference. Maybe I even believe that only ordinary people can make a difference. So today, in spite of immense disappointment and personal worries that many of us ordinary people are experiencing, I'm joining others who still can look for solutions to problems outside themselves.

What do I currently do about poverty?

First and foremost, I try not to become impoverished myself. I work and have worked every day for 31 years. I don't mean to sound flip; I'm a true believer in taking care of yourself first, if you can, like the oxygen mask lecture on airplanes.

Second, I help my family and friends when they are in need. And -- God bless us and keep us -- it seems like we have all been in need at one time or another.

And third, beyond myself and my loved ones, what do I do? Not much, in truth. I pay taxes. I donate things to Goodwill on a regular basis. I give monthly to Amnesty International. I donate probably $100 a year to miscellaneous cash requests for charities that come my way.

That's paultry, especially when you consider that there are people in this world who go to sleep hungry. In spite of our wealth, there are even Americans that are hungry. And it's not even that vague or impersonal to me: there are Odessans that need a basic meal.

So today I'm selecting a local organization to call to see what I can do: The West Texas Food Bank. It doesn't get much more effective than this, from their site:

$1 donated becomes at least 5 meals for people with food insecurity.
$11 worth of food and essential non-food groceries provided for every $1 donated.

If you too are putting aside your own anxiety today and are thinking about poverty, perhaps there is a food bank in your community that would love to hear from you. I'm dialing 580-6333 right now.


The West Texas Food Bank has a wonderful site that represents Odessa, El Paso, and Alpine. They have various pdf document that outlines what volunteers can do to help.

It's not too late to join Blog Action Day 2008. After I call the West Texas Food Bank, I'm going to register my blog as one that participated today. If you miss today, you can sign up for their newsletter to be informed for next year's action.


Bobbie said...

In this country of plenty it still amazes me that we have hungry people amongst us. Thank you for bringing it to my attention so I can blog and donate too.

Irene said...

That's a wonderful post, Debi. I'm just one welfare payment away from poverty myself and making a trip to the food bank, so I also know how scary things get. I am glad you found it in you to blog about it today.

Godinla said...

We are a lot alike. The last teaching job that I had was at Goodwill High School. Yes, that Goodwill - Goodwill Industries. It was a pilot program. I would take things to work and donate.

I left you something for you on my blog. See ya later.

Jomamma said...

Well said, I'm coming in via a mutual blog... Who got the gravy. He highlighted you today and said you were from Odessa, I'm from Odessa too. We may have grown up together or close together. I've linked you to my blog. Don't you just love the way the blogging world gets bigger but at the same time brings us closer together?