Food in America

While at the grocery store yesterday, I followed (without planning to), an elderly lady up and down the various aisles. You know how it is - you reach for something, and you glance at the cart in front of the shelf, and notice the contents without even thinking about it. I was buying salt-free green beans to add to the dog's food, and I saw that this lady was buying all the cheap, sodium-laden beans and veggies in the store's brand. Okay. Then it got worse. She bought the cheapest bread (nothing but air and chemicals), the cheapest hot dogs (don't ask), and that was it. No fruit, no fresh veggies, no real meat. The lady was living on canned beans and cheap hot dogs.

This morning's paper was filled with "how to eat right in the New Year" articles. Fresh vegetables. Add grains. Fresh fruit five times a day. Good enough. Then I thought of the price of fresh broccoli. $1.88 a pound. Canned beans? 42 cents a can. Apples? $1.89 a pound. Pepperidge Farm 15 grain bread? $3.99. Cheap loaf of white bread? 99 cents.

It's all well and good to tell people how to eat a healthy diet, but you have to be able to afford it. How I wish I'd connected the dots earlier and offered to pay that lady's grocery bill so she could have purchased some nutritious, fresh food. My lack of acumen shames me.

America, we have to do better by our less advantaged. NOW!