“Can you try to not buy food for the rest of the month?” My father asked sleepily from the bed.
I was in the kitchen of our studio apartment where the three of us live together, preparing food for the next day.
My hand was reaching into the bag of roasted almonds, bag of organic cherries in my armpit as I just took them out of the fridge when a sense of guilt overcame me. I whispered ‘okay’ and put everything away.
It’s July 22nd. There are three bags of food in the fridge. I know it is not going to be enough for 9 days.
69% of Americans have to choose between buying food and paying their utilities. Eating healthy is not accessible to the majority as a balanced grocery shopping list of organic produce costs between $70 and $130 a week for just one person.
While it is a great marketing gimmick to state that it can be cheap and easy to eat healthy, it just isn’t.
Blue Apron cost $10 per person or $8.75 per family per meal. Hello fresh costs exactly the same. Peach dish prices their meals by categories with the cheapest meal running $7.50. Plated is the most expensive, costing $12 per meal.
As I got home from the neighborhood co-op today with three bags of organic medley which cost $130, my mother was laying in bed in pain.
As she was complaining about her body hurting and her not knowing what it was, I grew annoyed, saying it was years of her poor diet that keeps causing these issues. I proceed to tell her that I know this because I too used to have constant stomach aches and headaches when I was a child and living with them. I started to explain how I fixed everything with proper nutrition when I went to live by myself. This is the third week where I am using her credit card to shop for my groceries while living in my parents house because my teaching position was eliminated due to lack of funding and instead of going to teach for another institution I wanted to focus on my business instead. The business which they are funding with their $15 an hour salaries.
I came to the US as a kid, went through the education system, had a career which allowed me to travel the world, and in the meantime I have forgotten what is was like to live in poverty, what it was like to choose between having to eat and pay the bills, what it was like to reach into the medicine cabinet for solace because the real fix costs too much.
When my parents came with me to the US they gave up their doctor’s diplomas for jobs which can actually pay the bills and to give their child more than pasta and potatoes to eat for dinner. A decade later, those jobs no longer cover the bills.
In the land of absolute abundance how can poverty still exist?
Image credit: Sponchia