Hunger Awareness --> Action?

Cody Hoesly

The Governor's (and his wife Mary Oberst's) week of eating on $3 a day is over.  But the media coverage is not.  Today the New York Times joins the in-state media, the out-of-state media, and even the fake news in covering the story of the Governor's effort to raise awareness about hunger.

I guess the question now is, assuming that Kulongoski succeeded in raising awareness of this important issue, will anything tangible come of it?  The Guv is imploring President Bush not to cut funding for federal hunger relief programs.  But maybe we can do something more here in Oregon.

As the NYT notes, even House Republican Leader Wayne Scott admits that hunger is an issue beyond partisan bickering.  If that's true, let's put him to the test.  Let's put some legislation on the front burner for the 2008 special session.  This could be an opportunity to bridge partisan differences, turn newfound awareness into action, and, ultimately, help the hungry.

[Note: The first version of this story contained a typo -- it said the Governor was eating on $21 a day instead of $3 a day.]

  • Susan Abe (unverified)

    A 2008 special session? Are you serious? Planned before sine die of 2007?

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    I think it was already decided that there would be a special session in 2008. Kind of a test to see how annual sessions would go.

    Hunger is definitely a problem. Kulongoski only got a taste of what it's like to be on food stamps. They got to spend $3/person.

    When we were on food stamps, we received less than $1/person per day. Try feeding a family on that.

    We were penalized because we purchased health insurance from my husband's work. They looked at pre-deduction salary, so they counted the money we spent on health insurance as money we could spend on food. Never mind that the only time you can cancel is during the enrollment period. Or that once we were without coverage the health problems that sprung up would become pre-exisiting when we could afford coverage again. Or that there wasn't any money for the state to even give coverage to our daughter (who was an infant at the time).

    The gov talked about having to put back coffee in favor of pb&j. But for many families, the choice is even harder. And it's a lot harder when you have to do it for weeks or months at a time. You can do with smaller amounts of food for a little while, but eventually it harms your health.

    Many right wingers will talk about getting rid of hunger being important, but when it comes time to help people their attitude is that they can help themselves. Or go to their local church to get help. But that just simply doesn't work. Not only do many people not go to church, but most churches don't have enough to help the people who already come to them.

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    Hey Cody -- A correction to your post. The Gov was on $3/day (not $21/day).

  • Patricia Turley (unverified)

    Fourth graders from Territorial Elementary near Cheshire visited Salem last week... Not before sending the governor and Mary Oberst waste-free lunch kits, which Oberst promised that she and the governor would use for their week of reduced price eating. The fourth graders sent those along to the couple, after being turned down for the offer of a free composter for Mahonia Hall, the Oregon governor's residence. Oberst sent a gracious note, with the information that their yard debris was being composted already by their landscape service. Down to Earth, an eco-conscious business in Eugene, had offered the composter after being approached by the fourth graders, who had learned that Mahonia Hall recycles a lot of material, but did not compost its own kitchen and garden waste.

  • Dan (unverified)


    I am amazed that you must politcize everything, including hunger, as you write:

    "Many right wingers.....when it comes time to help, their attitude is that they can help themselves".

    A bit much, don't you think. Do you have any imperical evidence to back up that broad, ignorant brush stroke?

    Salvation Army is something of a right wing organization. As far as I can tell, they feed many people everyday. They same can be said for the Catholic charities downtown. Please leave the liberal gobledook for another topic.

    Are there some big time Liberal charities that are serving more meals than the Army or the Catholic charities downtown?

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    <h2>The Salvation Army is not neccessarily a right-wing organization, but they are a conservative one. It becomes a political issue when law-makers attempt to privatize aid to those in need through organizations that require you to sit through a sermon first. It becomes a political issue when there is a systematic process in place to continually minimize public aid and support of any kind (big government shrunk down to be washed away down the drain-ring any bells?). It becomes a political issue when people like Jenni Simonis are required to choose between health and food, with no recourse. And whether you want to face it or not, yes the ideology of "you are on your own, or on the church's bill" is primarily a right-wing, specifically neocon atitude. I think the reference to right-wing made above is more specifically targeted at office holders, and yes they talk the good talk, but when it comes down to it, right-wing, ultra-conservative politicians can say they support anything from healthcare to education to affordable wages, but when they vote, if it involves anything resembling money out of the corporate pocket, the truth comes out. And pleease don't ask me for empirical evidence. It's in the news everyday.</h2>

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