People often misunderstand and misuse the word, hunger. Hunger isn’t the sound our stomach makes due to not eating for a few hours. Hunger is a disease that arises when people don’t get enough food to provide the nutrients to experience a healthy active life.
Hunger is a reality and growing issue. It is not an issue that has recently began; it has been on going for years.
A person at risk of going hungry has surged since the start of the recession. Most people are ignorant to the fact that hunger is present and exists only in Third world countries, and not in First world countries. This is the reason why I have donated some of my time to attempt to create a change. I decided to work with a food pantry in one of the richest Counties in California, Orange County.
The Saddleback Church and its members have created this organization to end chronic hunger in their area. The organization has been such a success that not every member is a volunteer, but most are employees, that have turned their passion in helping others into a full time job. As a volunteer I was what is called, a shopper. As a shopper I would help one family at a time in their shopping needs, depending on the size of the family is the amount of food they were given. In Sociology Chronic hunger is associated with poverty and economic inequality. There are three main theoretical perspectives in sociology, structural functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism. These theoretical perspectives all give ideas and reasons to the nature, causes, and consequences of poverty and economic inequality.
The structural- functionalist perspective believes poverty occurs from institutional breakdown. Economic institutions that fail to provide the necessities to not live in poverty. It does not all rely on the scarce amount of jobs, but as well on the education of both parents and school to educate children on the participation of the workforce. Overall the structural- functionalist perspective agrees that economic inequality is more beneficial to society than degrading. Due to the motivation it brings some individuals to succeed, and acquire higher achievements, in both education and the workforce that will later have a high reward.
The functionalist perspective also believes poverty is needed for society to function. It creates low paying jobs that are needed, farm workers, gardeners, childcare workers, and restaurant workers. If there was not poverty in society who would do these needed low paying jobs? Then there is the conflict perspective, it believes and states that because there is conflict in society there will be poverty in society as well. If there is wealthy people there has to be poor people, it balances society out.
Wealthy people are self-centered and believe they deserve to be at the high position in society that they are. They view every lower class and poverty as a needed part of society, based on inequality. Over all the conflict perspective views poverty and conflict as a need and necessity to try to fix the problem of inequality. Lastly there is, symbolic interactionist perspective, which focuses on how meanings, labels, and definitions affect and are affected by social life. Society gives meanings and labels to everything. These meanings and labels affect the labeled and often cause them consequences. Individuals labeled, poor, are stigmatized as lazy, irresponsible, ignorant, and worthless.
Soon they begin to believe and lack motivation to surpass this living. Due to these symbols existing and causing consequences to people there will always be poverty in our society. Whether it is, structural-functionalist perspective, conflict perspective or symbolic interactionist the reason for how, and why poverty exists, they are all linked to chronic hunger. Chronic hunger regardless is an issue in our society, and needs to be decreased. I absolutely loved the experience I had volunteering at the Saddleback food pantry. The best part about it was seeing every family’s appreciation for not only the food they had been given, but also your individual donated time.
Just like them I also valued them for having taught me to appreciate what I have more. Due to this experience I now try to remember to say grace before every meal I have. Unfortunately there were some incidents that I experienced that were shocking and saddening. A few families that I helped shop did not understand that there were other families that were also relying on this food to get through another day. They would repeatedly ask me if they could have more than the amount they were suppose to have of a certain item. I would explain to them the reasons why not, and often they would get upset with me.
One family actually began to take more than they were suppose to, after I had explained to them why they couldn’t. Besides having experienced these few incidents I am absolutely glad I volunteered at The Saddleback food pantry. The grateful, appreciative families surpass the few unfortunate incidents I experienced. I would without a doubt, and hesitations redo the whole process.