TinySpouts® Recommends: "Maddi's Fridge" by Lois Brandt
Today's book recommendation comes just in time for Thanksgiving.
This children's book raises awareness about poverty and hunger as we follow two best friends who live in the same neighborhood, go to the same school, and play in the same park. While one friend's fridge at home is full of nutritious food, the other friend's fridge is empty.
The comparison of the two friends' fridges sparks the EMPATHY of Sofia.
Bound by a promise of not revealing this situation to anyone, Sofia decides to help Maddi out in her own special way.
But Sofia later realizes that sometimes good intentions do not go as planned.
We love this book because it aims to remove the stigma of hunger and asking for help.
According to the 2019 USDA records, there are 10.5% of food-insecure households in the U.S. alone. That is a whopping 13.7 million people right there.
While we are thankful for what we have, what are we doing to reach out to those who are a little less fortunate?
What are some ways we can help out while keeping the dignity of those who are in need?
Donating to food banks and volunteering at community kitchens are great ways to help. During pandemic days, going door-to-door or hosting a party might not be met with welcomes, but some people simply post their food in their neighborhood forums, and whoever is interested is free to schedule a pickup.
Instead of displaying the savior-type of attitude that "we are here to rescue you and so you shall be grateful to us," lower our expectations and status to save the dignity of those who are in need.
Some considerate things to say are:
"I have a bunch of dried food here and am running out of places to store them, could you help me take them off my hands?"
"I cooked too much. Could you take some or else they'll go bad?'
"I'm cleaning out my parents' pantry, and they have a lot of can foods. Would you want some before I take the rest of them to the food bank?"
"I've harvested so many fruits and veggies from my garden. Could you take some off my hands? I'm running out of spaces here."
On the other hand, what can we do when we ourselves are in need of help?
It's important to understand that asking for help is NEVER a sign of weakness but strength - the strength to seek out a solution and to power through hardship. A lot of times, we are constrained by societal or cultural expectations and somehow feel ashamed or guilty to ask for help. It is as if asking for help somehow means we are lesser of something.
To be opened about our needs is the way to become greater. All these small assistance along the way are stepping stones for us to venture to something greater in the future. We will be pleasantly surprised that there are people and organizations that are very willing and aimed to help our very own needs. Even a small token of emotional support can actually mean the life and death of someone.
While this book raises awareness of hunger and poverty, it also tries to remove the stigma of asking for help and having empathy in action.
Tell us how you like this book, and what you think about breaking the stigma of poverty and asking for help in general.