At least today, it seems to me that the goal is to find out what it is like the be “poor.”
The first article I encountered today was about the CEO of Panera Bread trying to live on $4.50 per day, or the amount one would receive for food stamps. The Business Insider article stated that he wanted to “to attempt to raise hunger awareness.” Definitely a noble cause.
This evening, I stumbled across an international article about a wealthy South African family who move to the slums for a month to see how the other half live. The couple did this with our 2 and 4 year old daughters, which caused a great deal of controversy.
While I appreciate these attempts to shed light on the issues of hunger and poverty both nationally and internationally, I can’t help think how empty they feel to me. The reason being is that in order to live, experience, and feel the real pain of hunger and poverty, you must experience the helplessness that goes along with it. What these wealthy people are experiencing is the exact opposite. They know that at the end of their day, week, month, or whatever timeframe they have chosen, there is a way of life to return to. For the poor and hungry, poverty and hunger is life; day in and day out. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. There is no hope.
That is what makes my heart ache. Instead of using their prominence to try to bring attention to the issue, why not use the real-life stories of those who actually live with the despair of not knowing where their next meal will come from or not knowing how they will keep their lights on, to help the rest of understand? That is what makes me want to take action. That is what makes me appreciate what I have.
I hope these attempts at awareness do help and spread the word. Otherwise, it’s just another “look at me” stunt from people with too much time and money on their hands.