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Anton: Social Contract

The gift of a warm meal is especially welcome during the holidays.

When we think of addressing societal problems like poverty and hunger, legislative solutions are usually discussed. But there are many groups working to deliver change, quickly and effectively - some even without political polarization. Project Feed the Thousands is one - and with more than 200,000 meals donated, they’ve made powerful strides in combating hunger.

When they came to my high school for a presentation, I was surprised to learn that the amount of local people at risk had actually increased since Project Feed began their work; that this year they’re behind in contributions.

And since the Project relies heavily on Brattleboro Union High School - or BUHS - for donations, they introduced a competition to see who can raise the most food and money. The winner will be a guest DJ on a popular local radio station, and the student body loves the idea, so I’m confident we can do a lot to help them reach their goal.

Participation in Project Feed the Thousands is driving a paradigm shift in how we view societal issues. Project Feed made a big point of showing how many people are at risk, including many or our very own students. So in effect, Project is encouraging our community to help - well - our community.

There’s an unwritten social contract - too often neglected - that says when some are struggling, they will be helped out by those who aren’t. And if the roles are ever reversed, those who received help will now give it. This guarantees a safety net exists, regardless of any law. This isn’t to say that raising wages, creating jobs and lowering housing costs - among other measures - aren’t still needed. They are. But we can do some things right now.

And we need to take care not to see contributing to causes like this as somehow showing moral superiority. It’s simply part of that unwritten social contract to share critical resources many take for granted with those going without.

The holidays offer a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family and friends, exchange gifts, make meals and stay warm. But we all need to remember that the more people given this opportunity, the better.

Miles Anton of Brattleboro is a high school student, writer and filmmaker.
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