Project Bread held its annual Walk for Hunger yesterday and thousands showed up to raise money for this worthy charity. Hunger is the hidden consequence of the recession and the mounting income inequality in our state and our country.
Project Bread in its yearly hunger status report stated that in 2010 10.8% of the households in Massachusetts were food insecure, shorthand for families having a difficult time putting food on the table and likely having to travel to a food pantry to get the food they need. Put in plain numbers that is about 700,000 people in this enormously wealthy state that are hungry. The 10.8% figure is the highest reflection of household food insecurity since data was collected starting in 1995.
Rather than go on about food insecurity and the growing gap between the rich and poor in Massachusetts, I would like to present a segment of a poem called ” The Great Tablecloth” from the Nobel Prize winning poet from Chile, Pablo Neruda:
“Hunger feels like pincers
like the bite of crabs,
it burns and has no fire.
Let us sit down to eat
with all those who haven’t eaten;
Let us spread great tablecloths,
put salt in the lakes of the world,
set up planetary bakeries,
Tables with strawberries in snow
and a plate like the main dish.
For now I ask no more than the justice of eating. ”
As Neruda says so beautifully, if we consider ourselves a just and humane society, a leader in the world of abundant wealth, then no one should be hungry.