Serendipity 3, a New York cafe, set a Guinness World Record this November for most expensive dessert. Their chocolate sundae covered with 23-karat edible gold costs socialites and celebrities $25,000 per dish. It is covered in so much gold that it looks like something King Midas has touched, especially with its complimentary diamond-encrusted gold spoon.
Meanwhile, approximately 11 percent of American families consistently do not have enough food throughout the whole year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Groceries to feed an average family cost approximately $100 a week, which is $5,200 a year. One serving of the chocolate-gold sundae could feed five families for a year, showing the gluttony of the upper class and the deprivation of the lower class. This doesn’t even take into consideration the millions that are starving in Third World countries–not for lack of food, but for lack of distribution.
The USDA reports that from 2004 to 2006, 11.9 percent of Oregon families struggled to afford enough food and went hungry at times. These figures come from people applying for food stamps and people who take advantage of The Federal Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Those who suffered in silence are not included in the report, making the actual amount of people going hungry higher. According to the 2006 Hunger Factors Survey, 68 percent of households sometimes worry about how they will get their next meal and 22 percent of households with children reduce their children’s meal portions to have enough to last the month.
Also, inflation has affected food stamps and TEFAP has not been able to keep up with the hunger crisis. Food stamps are rarely enough to cover a family’s nutritional needs. It is usually just enough to diminish the hungry feeling with empty-calorie foods such as Top Ramen. In 2005, food stamps paid an average of $89 per month for a person, which allots less than 98 cents per meal. Currently, both Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith are considering possible bills to fund these programs for the next five years.
In the mean time, people are in need now. The Oregon Food Bank Network has 20 regional food banks and 884 hunger-relief agencies in Oregon and Clark County, Wash. They receive donations from farmers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and government sources. Especially during November and December, they also receive donations from individuals. Donation bins for non-perishable goods can be found at supermarkets, banks and other businesses.
PSU as an organization is not hosting a food drive, but student groups have the opportunity to give back to the community. At www.oregonfoodbank.org directions on running a school food drive can be found. Also, a student can chose to organize a food drive that would directly help other PSU students this holiday season. The site contains: a food-drive starter kit, a list of the most needed foods, a food barrel request form, posters, Oregon hunger statistics and more.
People are going hungry everyday, not just during the holiday season. However, this is a good time to help combat hunger. There has been a severe decline in food donations received by the Oregon Food Bank.
Raid your cupboards and pantries for foods that you know you’ll never get around to eating. Several businesses, especially supermarkets, have food barrels for your donations. Also, you can fill a paper bag with groceries for the Oregon Food Bank and drop it off at the nearest Jiffy Lube or U.S. Bank between Nov. 11 and Dec. 31.