Hunger disappears from UDSA's vocabulary?
Published: Friday, November 17th, 2006
Will you be celebrating Thanksgiving? Most Americans will. But those who do celebrate should, perhaps, be conscious that not all Americans have reason to celebrate. For example, the "homeless" – people without a roof over their heads. In cities throughout the country there seem to be a great number of Americans who are living on the streets . Then there are those the Department of Agriculture have been reporting as being "hungry." That is, the number of Americans who were unable to put food on the table for a least part of the time. But no more. No more "hungry" Americans. "Hunger" is simply "a potential consequence of food insecurity," according to a Washington Post reporter who attended the briefing on Wednesday announcing the changes. For further details, I checked out the USDA's Web site, and sure enough, "hunger" is gone. I was nearly elated, until I read that the USDA will describe these people as having "Very Low Food Security." It's a more scientific description, said their spokesman on the Web site. We could simplify that as VLFS. The conditions it describes include Disrupted Eating Patterns (DEP) and Reduced Food Intake (RFI). Or take another group that's labeled simply as Low Food Security (LFS). That condition is described as Reduced Quality, Variety, Or Desirability of Diet (RQVODOD). Of course, some are better off; they're labeled as Marginal Food Security (MFS). That covers these conditions: AOFS (Anxiety Over Food Sufficiency) and SOFITH (Shortage Of Food In The House). On the other hand, a USDA briefing room talks of households that are Food Insecure (FI). That could cover Lack Of Access or LOA. But those descriptions aren't very specific. Let's say we were able to actually go into some of these houses that correspond to the USDA's surveys. While we were there we might find: Little Food In Fridge (LFIF). And EF for Empty Fridge. Doing that we could also describe the situation of the homeless, as NF (No Fridge). And NH (No House). But that's so negative. Even though they have NH the homeless are completely free to SOCS (Sleep On City Sidewalks). Getting back to Food Insecurity, there must be Extreme cases, better called FIE, it sounds so positive. And there's no end to possibilities, like MIA or Money In Absence. Or SAB (Skin And Bones). But the USDA is also providing articles and briefs. One covers FIIHWC that is, "Food Insecurity In Households With Children." That could be explained by POOW or Parents Out Of Work. Another article touted by the USDA is entitled, "Explaining Variations In State Hunger Rates." EVISHR. (And how did "Hunger"get back in?). So here's a question: Is Arizona hungrier than New Mexico? Which state has more FI (Food Insecure) citizens? Or CHOWs? (Children Having Only Water? Or CNNs? (Children Needing Nutrition)? But whatever the state they live in and however we describe them, there are still many Americans with little reason to celebrate. So, while you are celebrating, perhaps you could give some other Americans a little reason to celebrate with you. We could start a movement we could call CHEER – it stands for: Come Help Everybody Eat Regularly. So, that even though we don't have the power to, like the USDA, to eliminate "hunger," we can recognize that, for some people, it exists. Chelle Delaney is associate publisher for the Quay County Sun. Contact her at 461-1952 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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