Thursday, July 8, 2010

OPINION: Pansa Yena Corazon Contento

(Stomach Full, Heart Content)

By Gary Jaramillo

Can you imagine – your child sitting in your living room – here in America – without a thing to eat for dinner? Can you picture your little girl or boy not able to concentrate on their classwork in the mornings because all they are thinking about is lunch time in the cafeteria? Is it even possible to think of your child going to bed at night with a grumbling stomach, and unable to sleep because of the awful sound and thought that they must wait until tomorrow at lunch time in school to eat again?
Dear Lord, could this be happening to children that live in the next home over from yours? Is there a possibility that more homes in your neighborhood than not, have children in them that don’t ever have three full meals a day? Not even a weenie, a slice of bologna or a piece of cheese, maybe a few crackers? My God, could that be real in such giving and caring villages and towns such as Socorro, Magdalena, Datil, Reserve, Aragon, Luna, Horse Springs, Pie Town, Quemado and all of the other great places that lie in these valleys and prairies that we love so much?
As horrifying as that may sound my friends – that is exactly what is happening. Children are going hungry right in front of our eyes and we don’t even know it. The parents who have to live with the deep sorrow that their children aren’t getting one decent meal a day know it, but are helpless to make it stop. Parents go without food themselves most days so their children can have a little extra on their already bare plates.
The sad fact is that New Mexico is a leader in child poverty and hunger, and that is nothing to be proud of no matter who you are. The elderly also have a tough time seeing three full meals a day also. Fast food restaurants throw the food away that sits for more than five minutes under the heat lamp because of ignorant and paranoid bills passed by men and women who probably don’t know what it’s like to tell their children or even starving grandparents that – there’s no more mi jito or mija or mi abuelitos. It’s a damn shame and we all just sit on our complacent behinds and shake our heads like so many sheep shooing away the flies.
We’ve resigned ourselves to the part of being followers, never asking questions of those in power. One could stand and yell “WHY THE HELL CAN’T THE RESTAURANTSGIVE FOOD THAT THEY ARE GOING TO THROW AWAY – TO A FAMILY WHO HASN’T EATEN TODAY?” – but you won’t get an answer from Santa Fe or Washington. More kids and elderly will die of hunger before they die from getting a disease from a one hour old hamburger that’s been kept in a clean environment in a restaurant. It’s sad that in a country as great as ours, people are starving.
How does a country, state and city live with itself knowing that our babies and elderly are quite literally slowing starving too death in our classrooms and in their homes - all but forgotten unless it’s election time, and then still, they only get lip service. How about a pack of bologna, some bread, a little jar of Mayo and some chips instead of political BS Mr. Politician? How about bringing a dozen eggs and a gallon of milk to a family which is struggling to feed themselves when school is out for summer and the children have no cafeteria to count on for their daily meal?
I’m trying not to rant, but sometimes things have to be said. I know how hard it is to care about others when your world is in trouble as well. Our lives are a perpetual circle of good times and bad, but we should hop off the ride from time to time to be able to see the others stuggling behind you and walking in the same circle.
Have a look at the momma I saw the other day at the Wal Mart holding back the tears and trying to dig up enough from the bottom of her bag for milk and bread and a tiny jar of peanut butter for her two kids while they cried for a candy bar.
She couldn’t buy it for them and it was killing her. I didn’t know what to do and the gal who was checking her out was feeling horrible as well. I reached down and grabbed the kind of candy bars the little ones wanted and handed them to the kids. The mother looked up at me just as the checkout lady said, you don’t have enough.
I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to be in that position in front of a line of other people waiting to check out behind her. I reached forward and quickly handed the lady a $20 bill and then began talking to the little kids loudly to take the focus off their mother while she finished paying. She was a wreck. She couldn’t have been more than 19 years old and I’m sure at that moment she most probably wanted to disappear into the floor below her.
She quickly called out for her babies and turned away, and as I smiled her way - the mother turned back and mouthed the words “thank you”. Everyone in line was feeling terrible and not a word was heard out of anyone.
That’s how it is now in Socorro, New Mexico – and unfortunately that’s how it is in America right now. But, each and every one of us can help others if we just decide to actually look for those in trouble – instead of turning away from someone who desperately needs a stranger to care – even for a moment. Be on the look out for your neighbor everyone – like back in the day when we watched each others kids in the neighborhood and never locked the doors and windows at night. And remember when any kid from the block could just walk right into their neighbors home and open the ice box and grab a hot dog, tortilla or fruit or anything at all because our parents knew that we were all in this together and knew that we would only get by with each others help and love?
Most families didn’t have enough for their kids, but always found a way for the neighborhood kids too! I remember the little old ladies who lived alone, bringing cookies or bread to the younger mothers in the neighborhood to help feed the kids. Women walking across the street with extra beans or potatoes for the woman who had 7, 8 or 9 kids in their family. No one was embarrassed back then, it was just done all of the time and everyone knew it. Everyone had a part in feeding kids and the elderly.
If you feel like your neighbors are having a hard time with food, gather up the leftovers and walk next door and offer the help. It’s not wrong to be involved with another’s strife in this journey we call life. It’s heroic, and it should be expected of all of us. If you have extra, don’t throw it away. Wrap it up or place it in a Tupperware bowl and take it next door. You know, you carry your love and compassion to their house with that food, and that can only be learned and passed on by our children if they see us caring enough to go visit our neighbor during the most difficult of times.
We can bring back those old days when pride always took a back seat to friendship and love for one another. Children don’t care if you are embarrassed about helping them, they only know they can fall asleep faster after a long day with a stomach full of food, and a heart full of contentment. The look in their little eyes will always say thank you. We can do this my friends.
Let’s bring back the days that made us so great. Give. Help. Care. There is not a better feeling on this earth than giving something to someone who is desperately in need. Search for those neighbors who need a little hand and don’t worry about what someone is going to say or do. The only thing that matters is what you say or do. So my friends, do it!
Don’t wait another day to get involved and ask questions of those in office who control and make the silly laws that literally keep food out of our children’s mouths. Stand up and fight for Bread! May sound goofy to you, but you’ll never know how important a fight for bread can be, until you haven’t had any for a couple of weeks or months. Be a hero! Help another to simply – eat.
Friday, Scott’s Napa Auto Store on California Street will be accepting non-perishable cans and dry foods for the Socorro Storehouse all day long. Make it a point to take 10 minutes out of your life and drop some food off for families and children who desperately need you to care. All kinds of food are needed and accepted, so be as generous as you possibly can.
And next time you’re in line at the Grocery Store and you see someone struggling and in need, push your way to the front of the line and ask “How can I help you my friend?” The message lives in all of us, we just have to be strong and proudly start carrying it around again and passing it on. It’s worked in the hardest of times in neighborhoods across America before – it can again. Be that person that puts another above self and then smile and do what has to be done. Not one more person that you know should ever go without food. We’ll see you at Scott’s Auto on Friday. Please bring what you can, and be generous.

No comments:

Post a Comment