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Be grateful for food

Letter to the Editor | Thursday, September 4, 2003

In response to Kamaria Porter’s Sept. 2 column “An Unhappy Day for Labor,” I want to emphasize her mention of the dining hall as a crucial place to practice social justice. Whenever I work on the South Dining Hall dish line, I am ashamed of the sheer quantity of food we throw away. Good fortune and prosperity shouldn’t be flaunted so vulgarly, particularly at a university that is connected by the universal Church to the universal poor. I know there are a lot of reasons food is wasted, but none are excusable. Sometimes, admittedly, it’s hard to answer the eternal question, “pizza, roast, stir-fry or pasta?” without getting some of each, sitting down and examining them free from the intense jostling and pressure. However, our unusually quick wits and high SAT scores should aid us in this intellectual challenge. Of course, it is also possible to take a bite and immediately discover that your chocolate pudding has an uncanny flavor of lima beans … so don’t serve up a quart to begin with. Maybe we rolled our eyes when our mothers nagged us to clean our plates, but it is definitely an insult to the starving to act like the crazed, happily vomiting banqueters of the crumbling Roman Empire instead of inoffensive people eating dinner. Unfortunately, this does not exaggerate our extravagance – come check it out sometime. In addition to being basically a taunt to the undernourished, wasting food is an affront, subtly but truly, to a whole slew of other people. Food doesn’t materialize magically. Well-loved land is altered, farmers struggle, animals die, laborers sweat in fields and factories to produce commodities for a noble purpose and that purpose is not to keep the dumpster people in business. They want to feed us; that’s their vocation, so let’s eat. It isn’t often that we can make a radical difference without paining ourselves. Additional steps are simple too, such as participating in Wednesday Lunch Fast to benefit the hungry. And even if that isn’t a concern at this Catholic university, we should listen to our deeply suffering wallets. Less food wasted means Food Services buys less which means less increase in room and board. Amen to that, right?

Erin MeyerssophomoreWelsh Family HallSept. 3