Below The Line – Day 4 An Apple A Day

Breakfast-coffee for Gabriele and I, a slice of homemade fresh bread, with butter for all. For the kids-a glass of diluted milk (to stretch it) .Packed the kids off to school with their Mortadella sandwiches. We have chosen mortadella, since we like it ,and its cheap. I gave each child my extra slice, so that they would have some protein to help focus at school. My older daughter has her NY state school tests this week. She has been nervous, and I feel bad that I chose this week to do the campaign. Children need a balanced diet to perform well in school, and even if I have to eat less, I refuse to allow her grades to suffer from being hungry. Im giving her my share of food.  I sat on the subway today,and the lady next to me had a big bag of KFC, which permeated the air. The man across from me was chatting with a friend about how fabulous his breakfast was with Lox, from Russ & Daughters NYC .Normally, I’d get off the train and grab something if I wanted, but not on $1.50 for the entire day.
I think of my Latvian grandmother’s stories in this period. She told me that during World War 2, when Germany occupied Latvia, her family was separated when trying to save Jews and fight for Latvia’s independence. She also had  married a Jewish Man, who had leave her and flee to Austria to escape. She was left alone, and forced on a train with her new born baby, as a POW.
With her family all scattered, Grandmothers mom was saving Jews through Siberia, her Father in the Latvian Army, was shot dead, her sisters all spread out… she became despondent. On the long journey to German DPP (displaced person) camps, she thought to commit suicide, and also take her baby’s life. In a particular moment on this train ride, a kind woman on the train, offered her a shiny red apple. To my Grandmother this represented HOPE/LIFE.  She took the apple, and kept on living. She witnessed the atrocities of the Holocaust, and managed to hang on till the war ended, at which point she made it to America, ended up in the Bronx. Single mother, no english, with a young son, and make her way. She worked in a factory (COTY) and my dad ran the streets and later became a hoodlum.  All she did was work to be able to feed her kid and make a new life alone in America.
Feeding children has always been an issue. My mom had me at 15. Imagine a 15 year old cooking for you… not so cute. My memories by the time I was 4, were that of cheap easy things-canned,frozen/ready to serve. BLIP on the radar. Good parenting makes kids feel secure, safe. Try your best to never let them know how dire things are. We have hit hard times, during our ever evolving careers, but we try to be responsible. Our goal here is to raise awareness, bring the hunger issue up the food chain to legislation, inform people. NO ONE in this country should be hungry. It is so important to  inform our children to share, and to teach them how to self sustain and get busy in the kitchen-survival techniques! Its what our cooking show, EXTRA VIRGIN is all about! It is important for our kids to understand how fortunate they are to have parents that try to feed them well, and what their less fortunate friends may go through. It teaches me to observe what we waste. How to reuse leftovers, how to be on a budget, and share with our community.
Many on social media have been cruel and ignorant to the cause. Acted as if we were abusive to our kids because we included them. I find that ridiculous. Poverty isn’t selective. I only hoped to share awareness, and hope that those in the position can share their food, and resources with those in need. Thank you to all who have supported us. One more day to go. When I finally have my greens and fruit, or a nice cut of some meat I’ll be looking at it much differently ,thanking God that I am able to eat well, and pray we can always have choices.

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