Have the barrages of snow and ice storms got you down? Do you long for a broiling July day at the beach? Has your car been sliding and slipping and your trash not been collected for weeks? Do you get your mail a few hours later than normal?
If these inconveniences are driving you nuts, maybe it’s time to take a breath and try to put this bad winter in perspective. Even with cabin fever and frozen front doors we know it could be worse.
Five minutes of internet research made me aware of many others who have much bigger problems than a snowy driveway.
Here are a few:
- A recent New York Times report noted that 44 million Americans live in poverty. Of these, 11 million are children and 4 million are senior citizens.
- Statistics say 35 million people live with a serious disability and cannot work to support themselves
- The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty reports that about 700,000 are homeless on any one night in America. Of these, 40 percent are U.S. military veterans who served in Vietnam or the First Gulf War. That’s 200,000 men and women veterans every night who do not have decent shelter.
- Although the Low Income Housing and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps those who cannot pay for their heating bills, over 600 Americans die every winter because they could not adequately heat their homes.
- Supermarkets are jammed the day before a predicted blizzard. Heaven forbid, we do not have 20 cans of tuna and 10 loaves of bread to get though one day without leaving our warm homes. But according to Bread for the World and the website ShareOurStrength, 17 million Americans experience hunger every day. Of these, 4 million are children.
- In America, over 100 billion pounds of food are wasted every year. If you want to help, contact Skeet’s Pantry at the or the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK). [Editor’s note: There’s also the in Hightstown.)
- If you want information on how you can help conserve food, go to www.usda.gov and look for A Citizen’s Guide to Food Recovery.
Eighty-two percent of Americans have a cell phone, but parents say they can’t communicate with their kids. Fifty-two percent enjoy a flat screen television, but almost 50 million do not have access to decent health care.
Most kids in America play video games but few exercise and play real games outdoors. Almost 25 percent of American kids are overweight but there are those 4 million children who do not eat 3 meals a day.
For one of the richest nations in the world we may have to think about what really matters. All this snow has nearly melted and spring, according to the groundhog Punxsutawney Pete, is coming soon. But for those Americans who do not have enough heat, food or shelter, the challenges continue every day.
All of us can’t do everything, but each of us can do something.
Got an idea? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below. And do you really need all 20 cans of tuna for the next blizzard?