All Shapes & Sizes

24 Apr

I have learned so much more than I previously thought was possible, in only one semester. I have learned that hunger exists everywhere. It’s not only found in third world countries. It’s found right here. Right under our noses.

Everyone that I have come into contact with during the course of this past semester has had some form of impact on my life. Especially my professor and the people that I have interviewed. My interviews helped me put some faces to the story that I was trying to form. Also, the websites that assisted me in finding out facts and statistics about hunger and the foster care system had a large affect on me and my article.

This past semester has made me realize that hunger is an issue in Pennsylvania, not only in other parts of the world. The work that I have done has opened my eyes to how much there is to be done about hunger, and how little is actually being done. I think the next step for hunger in NEPA is for everyone to give a small porition to help the overall cause. Because a little help can go a really long way.

The most important thing that I have learned this semester is that hunger comes in all shapes and sizes. Fat, skinny, short or tall; hunger affects many different types of people. I have learned not to judge before I know the full story. I have learned that no one has to go hungry, because there is enough to go around. We just have to learn how to share, how to give and how to help others when they need it the most.

If you are interested in learning about facts and statistics on hunger and in the foster care system in Pennsylvaina and in the United States, then here are a few websites that I enjoyed.

www.fostercaremonth.org

www.nacac.org

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Follow Me

24 Apr

I have so much that I have learned from this past semester, that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Throughout the semester I have done research and conducted interviews and watched my article piece together. It has been such a beautiful experience.

I have learned so much in such a small frame of time. For my individual project, I wrote my first article, ever. It was a tough experience because there is so much to be done. Gathering the information, crediting the sources, doing interviews, editing and making it all come together as one. It feels so rewarding though, and it’s only the first of many other articles to come, I’m sure.

Although, the books have taught me plenty, nothing has taught me more than really getting out there and meeting people who live out what I have been researching these past few months. I had to pleasure of interviewing many helpful people, like a single foster mom, who ended up becoming my main source for my article. I never imagined that my story would come out the way that it has, but I’m so happy it did.

There were many websites that I came across during my research and though I could not make use of them all, I still found the information that I learned interesting. One provided many statistics about the foster care system (www.angelsfoster.org) and I encourage you visit the site if this topic is of interest to you.

I am very excited for our class website to come out so everyone can see all of the hard work that we have put into this since January. I may be just getting into this journalism business, but I hope that you’ll follow me and my progress throughout my next three years of college. Because this article is only the first of many others to come.

We Need to be Their Voice

15 Apr

As my interviews and research have reached their conclusion, I find myself reflecting on everything that I have learned over this past semester. Hunger has become more than only an international issue to me, it has become something that is close to home. It affects everyone; from kids, to adults. I find it difficult to believe that it’s taken me this long to realize the severity of this issue.

From my experience, there are two types of hunger: Hidden and obvious. Some people try to hide it when they’re having money issues, and have trouble putting enough food on the table. This can be due to pride or embarrassment. Others, are unable to hide their hungry bellies behind closed doors. This is because many people do not even have doors to close, because those who are more obviously hungry, are most likely homeless. A good example of obvious hunger is a third world country where almost everyone is starving.

What bothers me the most about hunger, is that it can be solved. If everyone put forth a little bit of effort, it would make a really big difference. Many people are more concerned about themselves, while others are merely oblivious to what is going on in the world. I know that I was. Some people who are going hungry have no voice. We need to be their voice for them. We have to speak up and get people to listen. Hunger is an issue here in NEPA and all around the world. We have to make a difference for those who are running on empty. Because, if we don’t, then who will?

I’ve Been There

28 Mar

There have been instances in my life when work was scarce for my parents and I felt afraid that I would go hungry. But, I never did. Even when things got hard, food pantries that my church had helped us through. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to starve, to never know where your next meal will come from. In the back of my mind I always knew that no matter what, there was someone who would be there for me and my family. Whether it was family, friends or a food pantry. I always knew.

As I gather more research, I find it amazing how many people don’t use the resources that are given to them. Food pantries, soup kitchens,  and food stamps, and a lot of the time it has to do with pride and what other people will think if you admit when you need help. I hope to influence more people to get help when they need it, because the truth is, we’ve all been there. We all have difficult times, and sometimes we need to admit when we need help. I’ve been there.

Give a Little, Change a Lot

29 Feb

There are seven billion people in this world. Pennsylvania is the sixth most populous state in the United States. As of 2010, 76,089 people made up the city of Scranton. That’s a lot of people. And since there are so many people, It makes me wonder why there are so many people going hungry, when there are so many people there to help them. The answer is simple. A lot of people who don’t face food insecurity on a regular basis, don’t help those who do.

As I research hunger more and more, I have noticed a particular issue and the answer to the problem of hunger all together. If more people helped out families and kids and single parents who suffer from food insecurity, then we would slowly start to see hunger disappear. If everyone put forth more effort into helping the fight against hunger the issue would be no more. It can be as simple as buying an extra grocery bag full of food at the grocery store to donate to a local food pantry or helping out at a soup kitchen or donating money to a charity of your choice. It doesn’t have to be complex, only heartfelt.

As I continue on with my research on hunger I’m finding that in order to end hunger forever, we have to be willing to give of ourselves. Because a little help goes a long way.

My Focus.

22 Feb

I have decided a topic to focus on for my individual project. I am focusing in on the foster care system, and the possible hunger issues that lie beneath the surface. As of September 30, 2009, 423,773 children were in the United States foster care system. Many of them were placed into foster care due to abuse or neglect, and what I want to find out is how many children were taken away from their parents due to their inability to feed them. I am hopeful to be able to interview a real foster family to see how life really is for them and for the children. I would also like to get interviews with a case worker and a few school psychologists to gain different perspectives on this situation.

Also, I would like to do some more research into how foster parents spend the money that they are given each month for each one of their foster kids. I have heard stories about people who spend the money on other things, completely non related to the children and all of their needs. I would like to find out if what I have heard is the cold hard facts. Nutrition may not play a big role in foster care families either, especially when healthy food is so much more expensive. And due to the small amount of homes available and the large amount of foster kids in need of them, most foster homes range from six to seven kids. It is understandable as to why people chose a frozen pizza for $3.00 opposed to fruits and vegetables which cost a lot more money, but in order for kids to do well in school and in life, healthy eating is very important.

If you would like to learn more about the United States Foster Care System, here is my source.

http://www.achildshopeintl.org/FosterCare.html

Needing Nutrition

6 Feb

I have always known that hunger was an issue in other countries. Recently, I have learned that hunger exists everywhere: Even here in Pennsylvania. Maybe I knew that the problem was there, but never took the time to realize the true severity of it. The knowledge that I have acquired over the past month is absolutely incredible. So many people are going hungry and very few people seem to be aware of it.

I, along with three other classmates, are working together to focus on needing nutrition for our group project. We will be focusing in on questions of interest, such as: Is it possible to eat healthy on a budget? Is it possible to be obese and malnourished? What other problems does obesity cause, health wise? We will also be looking into schools to see how the way that children eat affects their ability to do well in school. According to an article that I read, a child’s eating patterns has a lot to do with their ability to learn.

Although most food pantries and soup kitchens may not focus on giving people all healthy foods, there are some organizations that focus specifically on healthy foods alone. An article that I found told about the Farm to Family program in San Fransisco. Last year they distributed 115 million pounds of fresh produce that was not considered marketable due to their difference in size or shape. Throughout the rest of my research I hope to discover more organizations like this, who put forth great effort to putting fresh produce onto the tables of the needy. Because healthy food creates healthy minds.

If you would like to read the articles about hunger in children and in Pennsylvania, or learn more about the Farm to Family program, here are the links to the articles.

Hunger in Pennsylvania: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/northeast-pennsylvania-residents-going-hungrier-1.1188208#axzz1lfQnvWFp  Farm to Family program: http://abcnews.go.com/US/bringing-food-farms-tables-needy/story?id=15010381