While flipping through a designer magazine for homes, a full page caught my eye. A lovely photograph of a well known, wealthy woman who has become involved in the hunger movement. First good for her for caring. For using her lifestyle, connections and money for the good of the less fortunate. Yet there are so many who do so much for the cause and with so little. Few if any who gain any type of recognition or even thanks.
As a society I have to wonder have we missed the mark. Are we further establishing need by the use of inappropriate downgrading words to identify the need. Take the word hunger. If we think about it. If our mind prompts the word hungry, hunger, we think of food. We want something to eat and the mind prompts the body to feel hunger. It is also a negative to those in need. It is not to say that the people who are hungry would be less so if a change of words would be used. Yet somehow I think it would less degrading if titles like Food Bank, Feed the Hungry could be soften to perhaps give those who are in need a bit of dignity.
Not always is it because they are down and out or not wiling to help themselves. Sometimes people are thrown into situations simply by circumstances changing. It happen to me a couple years ago. I have worked since I was 15 and had managed to reach a point of some comfort financially only to be wiped out with the 2008 financial crash. What I had vanished overnight and ironically while a storm blew onshore from the Gulf of Mexico. Before long what little was left disappeared to take care of living expenses. And living in a small town did not provide many opportunities for employment or financial gain. Selling everything valuable helped to carry me. Yet at times, like many who are thrust into a situation out of their control, the cost of sustenance became a big issue. Oh yes there is a “food bank” in the small town yet I knew from experience the gossip prompted about the people who sought relief from that source. So that was not an option for me. Besides what they provided was less then healthy food. Fortunately for me I eat mostly vegetables so was able to be very frugal with my purchases of food and creativity in the preparation made it less then overwhelming of the lack.
A few I knew left their left overs from restaurant visits at my doorstep. Leftovers mind you from their own plate. Never was I invited to dine with them even though for years prior they came to my table for many dinners. Somehow perhaps it gave them the sense of feeling superior and perhaps doing something to help me. And while I was grateful for the overture it was a pull on my dignity. Dignity is something that every individual should have and should be shown.
And thus why I wonder if the use of words that have been so blatantly set forth to describe the causes are not somehow at the same time wiping out the dignity of those who need yet would so much rather not. If we could show respect, honor and care with the words we use perhaps the grey of the situation would seem brighter.
Well known restaurants have catchy names and people flock to those for little portions at huge prices. So why not use catchy names for food banks and the organizations that work for the cause of hunger. There is one that while it does good and by a well known person of means prompts me to think of cattle. Sacks of food for cattle. And perhaps that is how the underprivileged are viewed by those who are privileged.
So why not go catchy. Ad agencies create wonderful campaigns to entice people to feel the need to have, to want, to buy. So why can that not be applied to the causes for those in need and thus give dignity to those in need in the process. I am thinking Munch Away, or Eats, Eat Out. You know, short catchy. And while we are at it why not have lovely brown bags rather then styrofoam containers. Dishes and real silverware at the places that serve meals. Why not make those in need feel as if they are really ok and maybe just going through a grey zone for the moment. And the children, ah the children, maybe there could be a gleam in their eyes because they can see their parents feel less shame. Then perhaps the entire hunger movement would take on a better mindset and the world would be better for it. It would be a place of dignity.