Previously, I wrote a post on my new volunteer opportunity, CookShop, where I spent two hours a week with a first grade class in East Harlem, exploring fruits and vegetables and beginning to teach them about cooking. Overall, it has been a great experience and I look forward each week to those two hours when I can forget about my school work and focus on the kids. We are not only teaching them about why it is important to eat fruits and vegetables, but also providing them with confidence building skills, like how to chop vegetables and putting ingredients together to create a tasty dish. We are building their vocabulary, and explaining to them if they do not like a food, to think of a descriptive word to describe why they do not like it, rather than using "yucky". About three weeks into the program all the volunteers received an email from the NYC Food Bank explaining the program would be ending a month early due to the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Two days ago I received an email from the teacher I had been volunteering with that the program was "cut until further notice."
This morning, CNN told me we are "56 hours away from a government shut down." I know the federal budget is more complicated than I can image, but it saddens and frustrates me that our government is unable to work together to come up with a solution. I now see first hand how budget cuts are affecting local community nutrition programs and am aware of the detrimental affects the cuts have on every day citizens.
I am not sure what will happen with our budget on Friday, and am hopeful some of the discretionary programs will come out on top. I plan to continue to try to make sense of the federal budget and will keep fighting for what I believe.