As I contemplate freedom in the run up to our Independence day celebration I can’t help but think about how food plays a role in the freedom most of us enjoy.
My wife and I were discussing our plans for our cookout celebration and I need to swing by and pick up some brats and buns for it on my way home from work. But what if I couldn’t do that? What if my situation was insecure enough that I couldn’t just swing by and grab those? Would I not celebrate? Would I not meet with friends?
When I was a child, we didn’t have much. Mom was doing her best, working sometimes 3 jobs to take care of us. We used government cheese and butter and had food stamps to help out. I got a job in a restaurant at 15 so that mom could direct those resources towards my younger siblings. I could earn money and eat a meal on every shift. Without those subsidies, I would have struggled to study, play sports and perhaps even stay out of trouble. Food security gave those things to me. It allowed me the freedom to excel and go to college and change my socioeconomic situation.
Imagine a place where every waking moment is dedicated to securing food just to make it to the next day. Where the distraction of hunger can stunt your ability to become educated. Where you can’t run free and play like the other kids. Where you spend sleepless nights worrying that you can’t feed your hungry child. That place is here in Monroe county for many people.
Community Kitchen is dedicated to helping people have the freedom to pursue other things rather than just securing enough food to make it to the next day. To study without the constant pain and distraction of hunger. To learn a skill rather than having to help out the family in that pursuit. To worry less and sleep more.
Wouldn’t that be a place that we could proudly say is truly Free?
Dan Williamson, Board member