Lately I have been having a conversation with myself about what is right and what is wrong in the world. Not only in the world at large, but also in my own world. Why is it that I can't help but wonder why nobody seems to stand up for those things that they hold most dearly? Why is it that we have a tendency to let things ride and figure that they'll all work themselves out in the end? Or am I wrong? Are we, in fact, just a society changing its mood on the fly and so preoccupied with too many things at once that we don't really flesh out the issues that might have a potentially bigger impact? Are we discarding the bigger issues because we don't want to deal with them or do we just not care?
The political landscape is rife with talk of "fixing problems," "overhauling ailing systems" and "taking care of our children and our children's children." And yet, what do those doing all this stand for? Where's the action? We've heard the words; where are the deeds?
I don't know about yours, but my world seems to get smaller and smaller. As I get older, it seems as though I lose many friends along the way. Some have been lost to distance, some to lack of commonalities, some to lack of interest, and some (too many) to death. My work world too has gotten smaller. My focus is narrower while at the same time my broader mission seems so much more intense. I guess what I am saying is that, through my work on behalf of those seniors who are struggling and have become the hidden hungry, I have drawn a line in the sand. I have taken my stand for those seniors and their right to be free from hunger's grasp.
Standing for something you believe in can sometimes be a difficult challenge. Actually, it's probably always a difficult challenge. By its very nature, if something -- some cause or purpose or vision -- needs someone standing up for it, it's probably because it's controversial, poorly regarded, or inherently overlooked. The easy way out for all of us would be to just go with the flow; let it ride; say it's not our problem; hide your head in the sand.
But that doesn't solve anything. In fact, it compounds the problem. No, we must stand up for those who need us; for those who through no fault of their own have lost the power of their voice.
And we also must do something else: we must work together to find solutions. We must stand on each other's shoulders in order to extend our reach. The days of "this is mine and that's yours and never the twain shall meet" are over. We can't afford to be myopic any longer. In order to address the issues that confront and confound us, we need to cast aside the mine vs. yours mentality, and cast a wider net. We need to come together and stand together and fix the mess we find ourselves in... and by our inaction or inattention have made worse.
And, I'm only talking about my little piece of the universe. In fact, my universe may be small, but my issue is huge. I stand for ending senior hunger. I stand with and beside those who stand for ending ALL hunger. For too long, however, I have felt that I have stood alone. But that situation should no longer be allowed to stand. Now is the time to take down the barriers, unshackle our hands, and join those hands in solidarity with all who are hungry; with all who are struggling to find the next meal; with all who desperately need that most life-sustaining of all things -- food. Oh, we can do it. We can and we must do it.
We have just launched the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger. Now those of us at the Foundation and our partners will take the years of work and knowledge that we have put into looking at the problem of ending senior hunger, and we will seek wider solutions. We intend to listen, research, engage, explore, and work WITH other entities to come together and address the epidemic that is hunger. My little piece of this wider issue of hunger is finding the solution to why at this very moment at least 8.3 million seniors face the threat of hunger. My Foundation will seek to start a broader conversation about finding solutions that have, for far too long, evaded us. We will challenge younger people to get engaged with us and to use their creativity and resourcefulness to help us find fresh answers to this very stale problem that has been vexing us for a lifetime. We want to hear from everyone and anyone who may have a part of the solution that is community based or national in scope.
We have amassed an incredible amount of research on the consequences of senior hunger and the causes too. Now we need to do research that guides us to the solutions. We intend to do that too.
We've got an immense amount of work ahead of us. We have a great challenge awaiting us. We are ready. We hope you will join us. Write to us. Let us hear from you. Become part of the conversation. Let's all of us end senior hunger together. Let's stand up against this disease. For goodness sake, stand up... for something.