Poverty is an issue that effects half the world. Yes, HALF, which amounts to about 3 BILLION people- live on less than 2 dollars a day. 1 in every 2 children in the world lives in poverty. Roughly 26,500-30,000 children die each day due to poverty. 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (same amount as population of the children in France, Germany, Greece and Italy).
Have these facts astonished you yet?
As the owner of a blog dedicated to sweet treats and delicious food, I felt that this was something I should address, and it just so happens that this years’ Blog Action Day’s subject was Poverty. In my belief, in this day and age there is no excuse for people living like this.
Now you may be thinking, “well I don’t have much either” or “I’m barely making ends meet myself.” And I don’t doubt it, these are rough times for many people, what with gas prices and the price of food going through the roof we’re all scraping by. But the difference is this: you consider barely making ends meet to be driving home in your car drinking your bottled water to your house/apartment/condo/etc with heat and hot water and probably air conditioning, to eat a nice warm meal that fills you up, watch your favorite shows on cable channels that you pay for each month, and go to sleep in a bed with clean sheets after setting your digital alarm… however maybe your monthly budget is a bit tight and you can’t afford the plasma TV you really want or can’t go on that Caribbean vacation. For half the citizens of the world… thats rich. Thats a life thats unfathomable and unknown. For these people, you may as well be Bill Gates or the King of Dubai. And it isn’t their fault. Its not that they’re lazy or they don’t want a better life.
Just as an aside, Morgan Spurlock, the Oscar nominee for his documentary Super Size Me where he went 30 days on a diet of burgers only to see the effects, produced another documentary where for 30 days he tried to live on the minimum wage of $5.15 per hour. At times he was earning $50 to $70 a day and yet the tremendous hardships he faced was incredible (including a ludicrous $40 for a bandage in a hospital, and some $500 for just being seen to). So imagine, if you will, living on $3.15 LESS than that. Even in a third world country where the cost of living is considerably less, you have to see how difficult and unfair that would be.
Just imagine living on $2.00 a day. Imagine feeding your family, and doing all the things you do on a daily basis, for UNDER TWO DOLLARS A DAY. Its impossible.
“But its not my problem…”
Oh I beg to differ. The economic structure of other countries in the world is everyones problem. Not just in the hippie-sense that we’re a “global community” and all that, but also because economics directly effects other things… but lets remember before that that theres poverty in the United States too. We are not immune. There are many people in this country who won’t eat dinner tonight.
Without government hand-outs (such as welfare, public education, etc.) the vast majority of United States citizens cannot afford the necessities of survival in contemporary society; At least not without loans in the government-backed credit-based economy.
Even the government’s figures say that 1 in 8 United States citizens live in poverty, but these numbers only scratch the surface. How does the government expect four people to live on $5,000 per year each of hard-earned money? Even the average middle-class family, making say 4 or 6 times as much yearly income, cannot afford a house or car, but must buy such necessities on credit.
-Courtesy of millionsofmouths.com
Has this made an impact yet?
Most of the children in the world are lucky to live past 5 years old, let alone the fact that they’ve probably never seen clean water, nevermind a cupcake.
I could make this into a big essay-sounding thing, with tons and tons of financial statistics and whatnot… if you want to see that, just Google ‘poverty’ and you’ll get a million websites giving you in-depth statistics. But that would probably bore you and you’d stop reading, which goes against the entire point.
And the point is: what can you do?
Make people aware. Be aware yourself. Don’t accept politicians overdone rhetoric about this- make sure they ACT. There is NO EXCUSE in this day and age for anyone to be poverty stricken, especially in the United States of America. DONATE! Donate as much as you can to reputable places (UNICEF, the ONE campaign/Make Poverty History). Take part in events such as the Great American Bake Sale, or the Great American Dine Out (which is over for the year, but keep updated and take part next year!). And a fantastic way to have fun, learn something, eat some excellent food and also help out those in need closer to home is to attend The NYC Wine & Food Festival, which is starting October 9th going on until October 21st (tickets may be sold out) or the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the net proceeds from the food festivals goes directly to the Food Bank of NYC and Share our Strength.
And you might be saying… “What do YOU do, miss big mouth?” Well, I donate what I can, when I can. For everything, not just this cause in particular. I always have that link up on the top left of my page, its been there since I opened my (dot com) website in March 2008 and it will be there until the website closes (which hopefully is never!). I do what my lifestyle enables me to do to help, and thats what everyone should do. There are some people who are able to take more physical action- and they should. Others can’t do much but donate and thats enough!
In these times of extreme economic hardship- during days when people’s hearts are in their mouths in fear that the stock market will crash again and we’ll end up in another Great Depression, and when most people can barely afford to fill their car up with gas, I understand we all have a lot on our minds. And I don’t pretend to understand the intricacies of the stock market or investments, but I know things are shaky. I can see why in times like this people would be inclined to be selfish, and not so quick to donate money to anyone else. But regardless of political views or where you live, how much money you make or what ethnicity you are I think you can all agree with me that we need to make poverty history.