Mr. Talkin goes to Washington

13 Feb

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for us, so I apologize for not posting in a while. I was reporting last time on the plight of the Federal government workers who were not making ends meet over the shutdown period. [Read an all too common story here] While I was visiting our distribution at Lompoc Correctional Complex, I received a call from the office of our Congressional Representative, Salud Carbajal with an invitation to be his (only) guest at the State of the Union address!

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It was a wonderful recognition of the work of the Foodbank, and so I couldn’t turn it down, even though I was in the middle of my Food Security Challenge. I figured it would be a great opportunity to highlight the challenge and the need to maintain the Federal safety net.

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rtx6lfxe_wide-cb2d1d20d5e4592033e2c8d846d9b763cdd94b66-s1900-c85Security was as high as I could have imagined with endless metal detectors and pat downs. At least they allowed me to keep my hat (though I wasn’t allowed to wear it in the Congressional chamber as I was not wearing it for religious reasons).

Prior to the address, I was invited to a reception held by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. As you see below, I got a chance to meet her, which was a great honor.

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Unfortunately, as I had been invited by a Democratic Congressman, I never had a chance to connect with any Republican members of Congress, so as to highlight the challenges of being food insecure in America’s low-wage economy, where a crisis is just a missed paycheck away. This is a shame, as hunger should be an ‘across the aisles’ issue.

Below you can remove your detective’s magnifying glass and  see me up in the gallery during the address, my bald pate shining out like a beacon of hope in troubling times.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from watching previously televised SOTU addresses, maybe something halfway between Game of Thrones and House of Cards! As it turned out, it was more like a high school prom, with different cliques. There was nothing substantial in the address to support working families, which was a missed opportunity.

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I resisted the Congressional cookies!

I returned to a Food Security Challenge that was at a halfway point. (I couldn’t bring the food I had brought or prepared with me to DC, so I had to eat food outside my allowed budget, so consequently I will be adding a couple of days onto the end of my challenge to make everything fair and square).

I have been skipping breakfast as a way of having enough resources for two more substantial meals, with a mixture of leftovers, salads and stews/chilli’s. I even shared some of my chili with my daughter Mia (7).

I have eaten this chili for six meals, so I definitely got my money’s worth! Other meals have included a homemade pizza (which was kind of a luxury, but I got two dinners out of it).

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I am running low on funds, so we’ll see how it goes this week!

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