There are an astounding number of people who go hungry in the U.S., despite the imagery we see on TV and the hollow lies of our government. There is a stigma attached to hunger. People do not go around talking about it. To do so prompts immediate judgment from the middle class regarding laziness, stupidity, and other classist stereotypes. Because of this, you may work with single parents who are going hungry so they can feed their kids and never know it. Minimum wage does not cover rent plus childcare costs, much less food demands.
It's frightening to be poor. It's much more frightening when you have a family with five young children. My husband's mental illness had exacerbated into schizophrenia. He'd applied for Social Security Disability, which was then -- as now -- slow at being approved. We had to accept welfare from the New York City Department of Social Services.
Feeding the family was difficult. In the 1970's, with food stamps, coupons, and careful shopping, we just about managed.
I pass for a Stanford student if I try. Which is good, because I am a Stanford student. I keep handing Hank all the good things that I needed when I was traveling and homeless. I'm persuading Hank to take the fresh vegetables, milk, organic whole wheat bread, and cheese. He just wants the meat. I'm hoping that I can improve his diet. Maybe get him to eat something that has nutrients and calories in it. He just wants the meat.