I hope you’ve been following or at least heard of the Saskatoon Food Basket Challenge. Local ‘celebrities’ ate out of a typical Food Bank Hamper for 1 week (although Food Bank users are only allowed to go once every 2 weeks). They also got 5 pantry items as well as $5. I really encourage you to read more about it here.
One post from Curtis Anderson on day 6 really caught my eye. He describes that past week:
This week has sucked on every imaginable level. I’ve been hungry nonstop and as a result I’ve been a terrible husband, a distant father, my on air work has been embarrassing, and haven’t had the desire to do anything other than COPE while I waited for the next terrible meal. On Tuesday, I paid for, out of my pocket, a pizza party for my friends. On Wednesday, after taping Stripped Down the music show- more pizza, (free, sponsored pizza, this time) but still – I had to say NO….again! On Friday, we promised our son weeks ago that we would take him to The Lion King in 3D on opening night, so I sat beside him as he ate theatre popcorn for an hour and a half. This doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the angry, paranoid irrational thoughts that streamlined through my skull hour after hour. I have the attention span of a toddler.
What have I learned this week? Hunger makes you resentful and poverty is a giant pit. Food deprivation makes it impossible to think rationally which in turn, makes it damn near impossible to make any sort of positive changes…. and the worst part of it all is the fact that the smallest risk could be a mistake and sink you even deeper, so it’s honestly safer to just keep trudging forward, wincing on eggshells with every step.
Hunger is bad for your healthy but also bad for your decision making (think of Les Miz). Often at The Lighthouse we talk about our ‘Housing First’ model but we forget a very key component for the people we help is not just the shelter we provide but the 3 square meals a day. I wrote a comment after the post where I stated:
What a powerful message Curtis & a great insight into what people dealing with hunger must go through on a daily basis. It’s so hard to focus on the other things, such as maintaining a job or staying sober, if a person constantly has to worry about their next meal (or, I would add, a warm, safe place to sleep).
Remember Maslow’s Hierarch of Needs? No one can concentrate on upper level needs if they are homeless or hungry.This is where The Lighthouse offers real solutions and opportunities for people to meet their psychological needs and work towards their self-fulfillment because we are able to meet their basis needs on consistently.
There is going to be a great event at tomorrow at the Saskatoon Indian & Metis Friendship Centre called the Food Basket Challenge Community Forum at 7:00pm, where the participants will be discussing their experiences this past week. I encourage everyone who is concerned with poverty issues in Saskatoon to attend. Click here for more info.